5 Health Benefits of Cherries
Jun 25, 2019By Jessica Beacom
5 Health Benefits of Sweet Cherries – The summertime snack you never knew you needed!
This post was created in partnership with our friends at the Northwest Cherry Growers.
We’re so excited that summer is here – not only for the longer days and warmer weather, but also for the bounty of fresh produce it brings. This year we’re especially excited to have teamed up with the Northwest Cherry Growers to talk about one of our favorite summertime fruits – sweet cherries. Both deep red varieties like Bing and Chelan and the blushing pink and yellow Rainier varieties are hitting farmers markets and grocery shelves right now and we can’t get enough of them.
Get them before they’re gone.
The fresh sweet cherry season is short. Northwest sweet cherries are typically only available nationwide from late-June to late-August which means you’ll want to take advantage of them now while they’re in season and at their peak of freshness and flavor.
Want to enjoy the health benefits of sweet cherries year-round? Stock up during the summer when they’re available and freeze, can or dehydrate them to enjoy them in the fall, winter and spring. Frozen cherries are the base of our low-sugar 3-Ingredient Cherry Jam and dried cherries make these Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites and this Cherry Pecan Granola with Quinoa absolutely irresistible.
Not only are fresh, sweet cherries delicious, but they also offer a host of health benefits, so today we’re sharing 5 Health Benefits of Sweet Cherries in case you needed a little nudge to drop a bag or two into your cart or basket the next time you’re cruising the aisle of the supermarket or rubbing elbows with the locals at the farmers market – if you live in the Northwest.
5 Health Benefits of Cherries
High in antioxidants – Research has shown that the anthocyanins found in sweet cherries may have the ability to “turn off” the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation in the same way that ibuprofen does, which means it may decrease your need for anti-inflammatory drugs in some cases.
Packed with phytochemicals – Sweet cherries contain ellagic acid, a naturally occurring phytochemical that research has shown to have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown the anti-cancer activity on cancer cells of the breast, esophagus, skin, colon, prostate and pancreas. Ellagic acid does this by binding with cancer-causing molecules, thereby making them inactive.
Good source of melatonin – Studies show that melatonin is another antioxidant that’s plentiful in sweet cherries and one that’s known for promoting more restful sleep as it helps to control your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythms) and regulate sleep patterns. It only makes sense that a handful of fresh sweet cherries before bedtime would be a delicious and beneficial snack. Melatonin may also soothe irritability and headaches, which is yet another reason to kick back and enjoy them.
Good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber – Sweet cherries bring more to the table than great taste, they’re also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese. And since most Americans are deficient in fiber, they’re a great way to help you get the recommended 25-35 grams of dietary fiber each day for good digestive health.
Reduced chance of gout attacks – Gout is a painful form of arthritis associated with elevated blood uric acid levels and unfortunately, it’s all too common with an estimated 8.3 million Americans suffering from gout attacks. Researchers at the University of California Davis documented in this study that eating sweet cherries lowered blood levels of uric acid in women while this study performed at Boston University School of Medicine showed that eating sweet cherries in conjunction with taking prescribed medications lowered the chance of a gout attack by 35-75%.
Sweet cherries are also perfect for snacking!
Sweet cherries are the ideal grab-and-go snack for the summer season. Both dark, sweet cherries and the yellow-red blushed Rainier cherries provide the perfect dose of sweetness without excess sugar. They also have a lower glycemic index than many other fruits and because they’re also a good source of fiber, they release their natural sugars into the bloodstream more slowly helping you feel fuller longer and giving you more sustained energy for whatever adventures lie ahead.
Their sweet candy-like flavor is sure to please everyone and they’re a great alternative to sugary snacks and treats, and easy to take on the go. Just toss them in your bag or cooler and you’re ready to go.
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This post was made possible by our friends at Northwest Cherry Growers. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.
About Jessica Beacom
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.