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9 Benefits of Cherries That Will Surprise You

9 Benefits of Cherries That Will Surprise You

Cherries are great for helping you live longer, sleep better, reduce muscular pain, and possibly even prevent cancer. Read on to learn about these and other benefits of cherries.

Which type of cherry?

You can opt for the sweet cherry, the tart one (prunus cerasus) or tart cherry juice. Michigan is the home of the tart cherry, while Washington and Oregon grow the sweeter ones. They all have similar qualities, although the tart cherries tend to contain more antioxidants.

1. Reduce muscular pain

If you are a jogger, you probably feel some muscular aches and stiffness after a long run.  The surprising results of research carried out by the Department of Orthopedics at the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, showed that tart cherry juice can reduce muscular aches and pains after running.

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The participants had to drink two bottles of tart cherry juice on a daily basis for a week before a marathon. The placebo group were given a different type of juice.

The runners who had taken the cherry juice reported less pain than the placebo group. Pain was measured using the VAS (Visual Analog Scale). A summary of the report can be read in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

2. Lower your blood pressure

If you are one of the many people who suffer from high blood pressure, cherries may be a healthy addition to your diet. They could also help you to reduce your intake of blood pressure meds. Cherries are rich in potassium and calcium, which are instrumental in helping you lower your sodium and alcohol levels. This is key to reducing blood pressure.

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3. Sleep better and longer

Surprisingly, cherries can even help you get a better night’s sleep!  Researchers from the USA, UK and South Africa conducted trials with a group of 20 volunteers. They were given either a placebo or tart cherry juice for a week.  Feedback on their quality of sleep was analyzed as well as the levels of melatonin in their urine. Results clearly showed that the tart cherry juice group were able to sleep for longer (about 40 minutes more) and their sleep disturbances were considerably lessened.

4. Eat a healthy fruit snack

If you are worried about weight loss, try to avoid those sugary, chocolate snacks. A much healthier choice is to opt for a cup of cherries, which amount to only 100 calories. If you prefer a juice, that is fine too. You can even make your own if you are patient enough. Another alternative is to try mixing a cup of cherries with yogurt.

 5. Cancer prevention

Did you know that the most precious elements in the humble cherry are its antioxidants?  These are essential in fighting free radicals, which are key protagonists in cancer as they tend to damage cells.

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Cherries contain the following antioxidants:

  • Cyanidin
  • Anthocyanin
  • Queritrin
  • Ellagic acid

A great tip is to go for the darker, riper cherries, especially the tart ones, as these contain a greater number of antioxidants.  According to the National Cancer Institute, the best dietary antioxidants are found in vegetables and fruit, especially berry fruits such as cherries and blueberries.

6. Pain relief

Research now shows that the humble cherry may be just as effective for pain relief as aspirin or ibuprofen! Eating 20 tart cherries to get pain relief is the surprising advice from Prof. Muralee Nair at the Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources. It is just as effective as taking two painkillers.

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7. Worried about Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the progressive destruction of neurons involved in brain processing. Research now shows that phenols and the anthocyanins contained in cherries may add a protective element in the prevention of this debilitating disease. Most fruits will help to strengthen the neuron connectors although the anthocyanins seem to be more efficient. As we have seen above, these are plentiful in cherries.

8. Relief from arthritis and gout

There are quite a few studies which have shown that the anthocyanine in cherries may help sufferers from arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory capacity. The case of gout is better documented in that the Boston University Medical Center in 2012 did a study which involved over 630 patients suffering from this painful condition.  They looked at the number of attacks, their frequency and also dietary considerations.

The fascinating result is that when 20 cherries (1 cup) were eaten before an attack, the results showed that the probability and severity were reduced by about 35%. The medical explanation is that cherries have the ability of reducing uric acid which is crucial in the treatment of gout. More studies need to be done but this is a very encouraging development.

9. Better eyesight

There are many precious vitamins and antioxidants in fruit and vegetables. As regards to beta-carotene (comes from the Latin word for carrot), this antioxidant is vital in that it converts to Vitamin A. This is essential for our eyesight. The good news is that cherries contain about 19 times the quantity found in blueberries. Now, why don’t you pass me that bowl of cherries?

Featured photo credit: Bowl of Cherries via basykes via Flickr

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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