For those of you who love cherries, this ruby sweet fruit is much more than a tasty summer treat. Shown to combat cancer, improve sleep, balance blood pressure and ease gout, you really cannot lose. Compounds found within cherries also relieve pain as well as aspirin. Possessing potent anti-inflammatory properties, these delicious gems are an excellent way to ward off disease. Rich in vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants, cherries are a powerhouse of nutrition and should be enjoyed often.
Relish the bounty of the season along with improved health
With the cherry season upon us, now is a great time for basking in all the pleasurable, health promoting benefits of the fruit. Here are a few examples of how cherries can enhance your well-being:
Cancer protection - Overflowing with beta carotene, vitamin C, boron and a class of powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, cherries offer a formidable defense against cancer. As reported by Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D., in Eating Well, “… preliminary studies suggest the anthocyanin cyanidin may prevent genetic mutations that can lead to cancer and keep cancer cells from growing out of control. While tart cherries contain some anthocyanins, sweet cherries pack nearly three times as many (two-thirds are found in the skins). The riper the better: As cherries darken, they produce more antioxidants.”
Better sleep - Cherries provide one of the few naturally occurring sources of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep/wake cycles. According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, “These data suggest that consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.”
Pain relief - Research at Michigan State University discovered anthocyanins in cherries relieve pain as effectively as aspirin. Lead researcher Muralee G. Nair, Ph.D., observes, “It is as good as ibuprofen and some of the nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs.” The lab results indicate consumption of 20 tart cherries can significantly reduce inflammation and discomfort.
Regulate blood pressure - Loaded with potassium, cherries are an exceptional food for easing high blood pressure. A balancing mineral, potassium helps to maintain fluid equilibrium within the body by offsetting the bloating effect of sodium. Cherries are also a good source of quercetin, an antioxidant that maintains blood vessel integrity.
Tame gout - A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that women, aged 22 to 40, who consumed approximately 45 sweet cherries after fasting had improved urinary uric acid levels and lowered C-reactive protein. Further research demonstrated anti-inflammatory characteristics of the fruit. When rats were fed 2 ounces of cherries, joint swelling was significantly reduced. Both findings indicate cherries are an exceptional food for painful gout flare-ups.
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