Fresh fruit is definitely one of my favorite things about summer! In fact, I usually freeze a bunch of grapes when they are on sale and in season. This year, I’ve been loving the cherries from my local Farmers Market! They are the perfect snack on a hot day, at a picnic, or as part of a meal. But when you eat cherries, you enjoy much more than just their great taste. They’re also packed with antioxidants and offer many health benefits, including help with insomnia, joint pain and belly fat. Cherries could be just what the doctor ordered.
Here are 5 good reasons to start eating this superfood today!
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#1 Improve Your Memory
Cherries are a great source of antioxidants – particularly anthocyanin (which provides the red color!) According to a study done by the Journal of Neuroscience, antioxidant-rich foods can actually reverse age-related deficits, like motor function and memory. These antioxidants even help prevent Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease!
#2 Aid Your Exercise Regimen
Those antioxidants can also help with muscle recovery after a tough workout. One study followed a group of marathon runners who drank tart cherry juice. They recovered more quickly and suffered less muscle pain because of the anti-inflammatory effects of cherries. If your muscles ache after your run, reach for the cherry juice instead of pills!
#3 Prevent Inflammatory Issues
The same anti-inflammatory effects that aid runners can also prevent gout! Cherries lower your uric acid levels, which reduces stiffness and swelling while minimizing the risk of gout up to 50%. Cherries also reduce pain from osteoarthritis while improving joint function.
#4 Reach a Healthy Weight
With only 97 calories in a cup, cherries are a sweet snack without tons of sugar! That one cup also has 25% of your daily vitamin C and 2 grams of fiber. Another benefit of anthocyanins is the production of insulin, which can lower the blood sugar of those with diabetes. Plus, eating cherries alongside your regular diet can reduce weight gain and lower your body fat percentage. This regulation of fat and glucose can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and even cancer!
#5 Sleep Better
Melatonin naturally occurs in cherries, leading to a longer and more restful sleep! I’m always up late into the night, struggling to fall asleep. From now on, I’ll be fighting the temptation to take a sleep aid with a handful of cherries! :-)
A few cherry tips:
- When buying cherries, you want to consider buying organic. Cherries are usually sprayed heavily with pesticides, toxins, and certain chemicals contributing to the death of honeybees.
- Choose plump, dark cherries with glossy skin and store them (unwashed) in a breathable bag.
- Removing the stems will make them go bad faster, so eat the ones without stems first.
- Enjoy them during the summer months and freeze them when they’re best! Try using a paperclip to scoop out the pit if you’re freezing them for smoothies or baking.
Here are some of my favorite cherry recipes! Enjoy!
- Cherry Almond Coconut Balls
- Cherry Chia Seed Energy Gel
- Cherry Berry Smoothie
- Cherry Coconut Porridge
- Honey-Soaked Quinoa Salad
- Grilled Chicken with Cherry Salsa
- Cherry Chicken Spirals
- Cherry Almond Upside-Down Cake
What is your favorite way to enjoy cherries?