Some people might think that the cherry is a berry (especially since the rhyme would be easy to remember), but it’s actually a drupe. That means there is a fleshy and edible skin with a strong seed inside that you shouldn’t eat. For that reason, cherries fall into the same category as mangoes, peaches and even coconuts, even though they are very sweet and much smaller.
The cherry is also one of the most popular fruits in the world, and are produced everywhere from Turkey and the United States to Iran and Italy. There are also a lot of great health benefits that you can get from eating more cherries whether you use them as a garnish, an ingredient or eat them plain. What are these benefits? Here are the ones that have been backed up by science so far.
If you can find some raw cherries that have been sliced without the pit, you are getting a ton of good nutrition out of one cup. Each cup has just under 100 calories (which is going to be a great weight loss snack) with a lot of helpful vitamins and minerals. That serving has almost no fat (0.3 grams overall) and 13 percent of your daily fiber recommendation.
Vitamin C is the most abundant vitamin to be found in a cherry, with 18 percent of your recommendation in each serving. There are also decent amounts of a wide range of vitamins including vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, riboflavin and vitamin A. Finally, there is a fair amount of potassium in cherries (10 percent of daily recommendation), as well as copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and more. It’s amazing that a fruit so small can bring so many benefits without all of the calories.
Eating a delicious and sweet cherry is going to make you feel better, all while increasing your brain’s power. Cherries are filled with antioxidants that have been shown to help your brain in many different ways. For starters, you can help to prevent Alzheimer’s or even lessen the effects because of those antioxidants. The Alzheimer’s Association has even recommended eating cherries because of the positive effects on your memory.
Cherries can also boost your natural levels of melatonin, allowing for better sleep. Whether you are eating cherries or drinking the juice, you can help to control your sleep cycle. Not only that, you are reducing your chances of having a stroke later in life by eating more cherries. Lack of sleep, memory loss and blood flow are serious factors of many brain disorders, so cherries can help keep you sharp for a very long time.
Good For the Bones
The most common cause of pain is inflammation, which anybody that has had arthritis or gout can tell you. Cherries are among the most recommended foods for those that are suffering from inflammatory pain, especially in the joints or feet. Eating more cherries has shown drastic improvement for those that suffer from gout pain, lowering the risk of attacks by nearly 40 percent.
Other studies have shown a reduction in pain for cherry eaters with osteoarthritis. Even if you don’t have either of these conditions, you are still doing yourself a favor by possibly preventing them down the road. Not only can it help with bone pain, but cherries have also been shown to reduce muscle pain. For those that hit the gym a lot, drinking more cherry juice or eating cherries can make recovery time much faster.
We’ve already pointed out the high content of nutrients in cherries and the low amount of calories. Obviously, that can help you lose weight, though there are more details that boost weight loss. The fiber content in cherries allows you to increase digestive health and control insulin levels, which alone will help boost your metabolism.
Since cherries are sweet and mainly water (and again, fiber), they are also very filling. This makes them a good snack to have if you get a craving for something sweet, but not in a bad way. Some studies have even shown that eating more cherries can burn fat in your midsection, which is the biggest problem area for just about all of us. Those antioxidant properties are also going to help you lose some weight in waste alone.
Controlling those insulin levels will help you to lose some weight, but also makes for good diabetes prevention and treatment. Studies have shown that the anthocyanins in cherries and other fruits increase insulin production and allow the body to control blood sugar more effectively. It’s a great way to satisfy your craving for something sweet without doing long-term damage.
Cherries are low on the glycemic index with a level of 22, though you have to pick out the right ones. Sour cherries are much lower and are the main source of controlling blood sugar, while sweet cherries should be eaten in moderation. Just keep an eye on the sugar levels, as raw and fresh cherries will naturally be much lower.
You have to love seeing a food that is high in vitamin C, as it will help to boost your immune system and prevent many different diseases both small and serious. Those antioxidants will assist in fighting free radicals that cause serious diseases. Among the one that cherries help fight against the most is colon cancer.
Foods that are cooked with tart cherries lower the fat content in those foods thanks to the antioxidants. Your colon can only take so much fat before it starts to breakdown, so it’s beneficial to reduce the amount. Of course, eating cherries alone is going to be the best way of doing that, but sometimes we just need our meat.
Summing it Up
Cherries are normally inexpensive, and can be found in just about any part of the world. Especially here in the United States, where cherries are grown in Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan and more. So are there any negatives to eating cherries? When eating them in moderation and incorporating them into a normal and balanced diet, the answer is no (unless you have a rare allergy).
Eating too many can cause problems such as a vitamin deficiency since the vitamin C content is so much higher than the others, and also too much fiber in the system. That would be difficult to accomplish, though. You should be getting about two cups per day of fruit, so making cherries part of your daily fruit routine or even switching it up is going to bring you a lot of great benefits.