Cherries are so much more than a tasty, little topping or filling for your favorite dessert. These juicy, little, bite-sized fruits have cancer-, heart disease-, arthritis-, aging-, Alzheimer’s- and insomnia-fighting abilities.
Enjoy cherries year round, raw, cooked or canned, for a power-packed delight. Read on to learn more about cherries’ impact on your health.
Inside the Cherry
Sweet cherries, which are the most commonly eaten and used, contain protein, dietary fiber, natural sugars, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate and iron. Cherries are fat free and very low in calories and sodium, so they make a great snack or addition to a meal without any guilt. Dried cherries are just as delicious, but there is more sugar, as well as some additives and preservatives, to ensure a longer shelf life.
10 Health Benefits
Cancer Fighter – Animal testing has shown that perillyl alcohol found in cherries stops the growth of tumors in rodents. Two antioxidants among many, anthocyanin and quercetin in cherries target and defeat free radicals in the body that can potentially cause cancer, if left untouched. German research has also proven that cherries help in the fight against cancer.
Sweet cherries reportedly counter the effects of cancer-causing clastogens, which can also wreak havoc on your DNA. Sweet and sour cherries showed evidence that they can prevent gene mutations, which eventually result in cancer. As an added benefit, topping your meat on the grill with cherries protects you from cancer-causing substances called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which creep up and linger unknowingly during the grilling process.
Arthritis Alleviator – Cherries also work like an analgesic and are anti-inflammatory, which is of special interest to arthritis sufferers. Anthocyanins, which are responsible for cherries’ deep red color, help to stop the production of prostaglandins, which make arthritic symptoms worse. Prostaglandins cause flare-ups of inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Furthermore, studies have shown that cherries are equally effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications like ibuprofen or aspirin.
Heart Shield – The anthocyanins within cherries provide more antioxidant protection than that found in vitamin C and vitamin E supplements, so that means that cherries are working overtime to subdue free radicals that can clog the arteries, raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and make the blood and heart toxic. Potassium works hand in hand with the antioxidants in cherries to keep the heart healthy and even prevent stroke.
Insomnia Eliminator – A hormone largely found in cherries called melatonin helps to induce sleep so you can get to bed faster, so you can skip those sleeping pills and get through sleepless nights with a bowl of cherries instead. Melatonin is also beneficial to the heart and helps fight cancer, aging, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.