Why life really should be a bowl full of cherries
Plump juicy cherries are a perfect summer treat. They are packed with vitamin C and fiber, and one cup of cherries is only 77 calories. Thanks to an impressive list of nutrients, they are also good for your health and even help fight diseases.
“Cherries are a great summer snack,” says Courtney Driscoll, RD, dietician and Clinical Nutrition Manager at Cape Cod Healthcare. “They travel well so you can always have them on hand at work, the beach or on the run for a healthy snack option. And because of their high fiber and nutrient content they will keep you satisfied until your next meal.”
Here are six more reasons to add cherries to your diet:
- They are good for your brain. Cherries have tons of anthocyanins and flavonoids that boost memory function. Studies led by Gary Dunbar, director of neuroscience at Central Michigan University, also show promise that cherries may even reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease when combined with essential fatty acids like those found in fish.
- They reduce inflammation. Those same anthocyanins that cause cherries’ jewel-like color and help your memory also reduce inflammation. This is especially important for those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and gout. They may also be beneficial for those with muscle or joint pain from activities like exercise. Tart cherries work by causing changes in the metabolism of uric acid.
- They combat cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that tart cherries lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar and increase production of a molecule that helps the body process fat and sugar.
- They promote colon health. The American Institute for Cancer Research backs research that shows that cherries are a powerful antioxidant. The flavonoids in them have anti-carcinogenic features and inhibit the growth of tumors. The fiber also works with healthy gut bacteria to protect the colon.
- They are good for your eyes. Cherries are a good source of Vitamin A, which is vital for eye health. They are also a great source of beta carotene, which protects eyes and also boosts the immune system.
- They help improve sleep, even for those who suffer from insomnia. Cherries are high in melatonin, which induces sleep by regulating our circadian rhythms and natural sleep patterns. They also contain anti-inflammatory agents that are related to sleep modulation.
Ready to get started on a cherry rich diet? If you want to go beyond healthy snacking, you can find some fabulous cherry recipes here.