The cherry is a fleshy drupe that belongs to rose family (Rosaceae) – same family as apricots, almonds, peaches, and plums. These little red fruits are native to the county of Europe and West Asia. Today, cherries are grown in many parts of the world, but most of the cherries produced in the United States.
There are two major types of cherries: sweet cherries (Prunus Avium) and sour cherries (Prunus Cerasus). The sweet varieties tend to be larger in size and more popular than the sour cherries.
Like the other berries, cherries are juicy, tasty, and extremely healthy. They are packed with numerous nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamin A, C, E, and B vitamins, as well as copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
They are also high in antioxidants, flavonoids, and melatonin that help maintain a healthy body, fight inflammation and slow the effects of aging. The following are some health benefits of cherries.
- Prevent cancer
Cherries contain rich amount of antioxidants like queritin, perillyl alcohol and ellagic acid which helps protect the body cells against free radicals caused by different types of cancers.
- Control blood pressure
Cherries are an excellent source of potassium which can help regulate blood pressure by getting rid of the excess sodium in our body.
- Maintain a healthy heart
A study at the University of Michigan found that diets including cherries might lead to a lower risk of heart disease by lowering body fat, chronic inflammation and cholesterol levels. The researchers conclude that cherries could be used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease due to the anti-inflammatory benefits of anthocyanins and cyanidins.
- Reduce inflammation
The antioxidants found in cherries may also help to reduce inflammation in the body and eliminate migraine headaches.
- Improve memory
Cherries are a good source of anthocyanins which can help enhance memory and promote cognitive function.
- Prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Since cherries have been proven to be beneficial for cognitive health, eating cherries regularly may help prevent the onset of several brain disorders including Alzheimer’s disease.
- Maintain a healthy sleep pattern
Cherries contain melatonin, a natural hormone that helps regulate sleep or wake cycles in our body as well as support the body immune system.
- Support weight loss
Cherries have high water content and are low in calories, which can keep you feeling fuller for a longer time so you’re unlikely to overeat. Also, cherries are loaded with soluble fiber which can helps reduce belly fat and cholesterol levels by slowing its absorption into your blood.
- Aid digestion
The fiber in cherries helps to prevent constipation and ease bowel movements.
- Relieve arthritis and gout
For those who suffer from arthritis and gout, drinking cherry juice may help lower blood uric-acid levels and reduce gout pain. According to a research done by the Human Nutrition Research Centre at the University of California, women who consumed 280 grams of tart cherries showed 15 percent reduction in uric acid levels.
- Relieve pain
Cherries can help reduce post-exercise muscle and joint pains. several studies has revealed that the anthocyanidins in cherries are able to block pain signals, making them a great pain-relieving food.
When buying cherries, look for those that are plump, firm, and deeply colored with green stems. The darker the color of the cherry, the more antioxidants there are and the better it’s for you.