Did you know that cherries aren't just a delicious sexy fruit, but that they also contain a whole array of outstanding health benefits?
That's right! Cherry health benefits range from a slough of antioxidants to containing anti-inflammatory properties. Lucky for you, Blooms Cherries are specifically grown to be "nature's candy", with high levels of slow-release natural sugars. This results in them being one of the lowest fruits on the glycemic index, meaning they have less of an impact on blood sugar levels than high glycemic foods.
Are Cherries Healthy?
Yes, cherries are healthy. From what some could say “old brain” instinct tells us that eating foods straight from mother nature is healthy. Fortunately for us, wheelbarrows full of scientific research backs up what we already know and highlights health benefits specific to sweet cherries.
Read on to find great reasons to add more cherries to your diet as this article guides you through 15 amazing cherry health benefits, all backed by years of independent scientific research.
1. High Nutritional Value Of Cherries
In addition to having specific health benefits, cherries are also a source of many important nutrients. The following table shows the quantities of some of the nutrients in sweet cherries, according to the United States Department of Agriculture:
Amount in 1 cup of raw, pitted, sweet cherries
2. Antioxidant Rich
Sweet cherries are antioxidant-rich and because they are supplied in real food rather than supplements that scientists point out are much more beneficial for us.
Melatonin, phenols, quercetin, and a flavonoid called anthocyanin are just but a few antioxidants contained within sweet cherries. This is great for our health as they help the body reduce the risk of many diseases (including heart disease and certain cancers).
3.Cherries Benefit Sleep
Do you struggle to doze off at night? If you answered yes, then you're in luck as evidence suggests that cherries can help sleep.
A study in 2013 found that cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a neurotransmitter that influences sleep and mood. Melatonin is the chemical that induces sleepiness and so its very useful for those with insomnia to up their levels.
Another study in 2013 studied the effects on sleep of those who ate a cherry-based product and those who had a placebo. They found that the participants who consumed a cherry-based product had significant improvement in their sleep and nocturnal rest. Interestingly, older participants experience an even more marked improvement.
So if you, or someone of an older age in your life, are struggling to sleep, it could be a sign you need to eat more cherries!
4. Lower Cholesterol
If you're looking to lower your cholesterol, it may surprise you to know that cherries can help. This is due to the high levels of anthocyanins that cherries contain, which are believed to have a preventative effect on cardiovascular disease.
A study into anthocyanin found that increasing the amount consumed has a positive effect on HDL cholesterol (aka good cholesterol), and decreases the amount of LDL cholesterol (the not so good cholesterol). So it's wins all round!
5. Boosts Brain Power
Lower cholesterol isn't the only benefit of anthocyanins!
Studies have found super compounds also have a positive effect on cognitive function, meaning that cherries boost brainpower. Not just that, they can prevent memory loss and protect against Alzheimer's.
As if that wasn't enough - there's more to suggest cherries benefit cognitive function. Their polyphenols ( yes, the same ones that are good for heart health) have been found to help us process new information. They achieve this by stopping inflammation and encouraging communication between neurons, which in turn improves our ability to soak up new information
6. Boost Your Mood
Cherries really are superheroes when it comes to the brain as they are also a great way to boost your mood. Each cherry is a source of serotonin, a hormone famous for its ability to regulate mood and anxiety.
It may surprise you to know that you can get the same great relaxing feeling from eating a turkey dinner, by eating cherries! This is due to the tryptophan in turkey which helps your body’s process of making serotonin. So maybe next time you want to unwind -you should head for a bowl of cherries!
Sweet cherries also contain anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with gout, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
Find out more about the interesting science behind it in the video below, and keep reading to find out more about gout and arthritis.
8. Boost Exercise Recovery
We all know regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. However, we all also know that it can result in sore muscles, strains and injuries...
But before you let that put you off, there is evidence to suggest that cherries can help exercise recovery.
A 2020 meta-analysis involved participants who consumed tart cherry concentrate as a powder or juice for 7 days until 1.5 hours before exercising.
The results showed that eating tart cherries improved endurance due to exercise, possibly due to the low glycemic index and anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and blood flow-enhancing properties of cherries.
Whilst scientists need to carry out more research to determine whether or not cherries can reduce recovery times and soreness after exercise, it doesn't hurt to try consuming cherries before exercise to see if it benefits you.
9. Support Gut Health
Looking to keep your digestive system healthy? Then maybe you should look at eating more cherries as the answer.
This is because cherries are a good source of fiber, which is integral to keep your digestive system healthy. Fibre fuels gut bacteria and helps to promote bowel regularity.
10. Good For Heart Health
When looking for food that can benefit heart health, you can't really go wrong with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat. But there's another reason why you should be choosing cherries as a staple in your diet to have good heart health - their potential for lowering blood pressure.
For example, a study on females with diabetes found that adding cherry concentrate to their diet for 6 weeks significantly lowered blood pressure.
This could be because cherries contain several nutrients that may help with blood pressure, such as polyphenols and potassium. Polyphenols are good as they're a type of antioxidant that prevents oxidative damage.
You can find around 5% of a person's daily value of potassium in a hundred grams of raw sweet cherries.
11. Benefits Gout
Gout is a type of joint pain that causes severe joint pain and is caused by too much uric acid in the body. Gout can be a very painful experience, however, luckily there is evidence to suggest sweet cherries can help prevent the illness.
Now, time for the science bit...
Sweet cherries, because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory(IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-8, COX-I and -II) properties, hypouricemic effects, and the ability to downregulate NFkB-mediated osteoclastogenesis may reduce both the acute and chronic inflammation associated with recurrent gout flares.
12. Help Arthritis
Do you or someone you know suffer from arthritis? Well, you can rejoice in knowing that sweet cherries can aid in reducing their suffering.
A study by USDA-ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center found that fresh Bing cherries may reduce painful arthritic inflammation. It was found that plasma urate levels (which are to blame for arthritic pain) decreased significantly after 5 hours in volunteers who ate 45 fresh Bing cherries for breakfast.
13. Can Help With Diabetes
There is evidence to suggest that cherries can help with diabetes. A study has found that cherries can help promote healthy glucose regulation which in turn can help those with diabetes.
However, the evidence showing this isn't strong enough for a solid conclusion and more studies need to be conducted.
14. Can Aid Weight Loss
Cherries are also a great addition to your diet if you are trying to lose a bit of weight. Not only are they low in calories, but also contain a high level of vitamins that help boost your metabolism. Their water content is also great for flushing toxins out your body.
15. Easy To Add To Diet
Easy? Absolutely! Certainly one of the most enjoyable ways to add fresh sweet cherries to your diet is to eat them plain right off the tree, just as mother nature intended them to be eaten. Of course, cherries are available in many forms, including:
- raw fruit
- dried fruit
- fruit compote or puree
- fruit juice
- concentrate, which a person dilutes with water
To incorporate more cherries into a healthy diet, why not add cherries to the following meals and snacks?
- Fruit Salads
- Fruit & Nut mixes
Use can also use cherry puree to dressings and sauces, or cherry powder to smoothies
What Are The Benefits Of Cherry Juice?
Cherry juice contains many of the benefits from fresh cherries with the added benefit of longer storage life. Fresh cherries are one of the last produce commodities to maintain their seasonality with a gap between mid September to mid November and another between mid January to mid April. The gaps represent two periods of time fresh cherries are out of season in both the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere.
Tart Cherries Vs Sweet Cherries Health Benefits
In a study completed by Michigan State University, it was shown that sweet cherries have greater anti-inflammatory properties than tart cherries. This is considered to be the case because of the higher level of anthocyanins than tart cherries.
Do Rainier Cherries Have More Benefits?
Rainier cherries contain many of the same benefits as their relative the dark sweet cherry. The dark sweet cherry, however, may provide a bit more anti-inflammatory properties than the rainier because of a lower amount of anthocyanins.
Dried Cherries Benefits
Dried cherries contain many of the benefits from fresh cherries with the added benefit of longer storage life.
Fresh cherries are one of the last produce commodities to maintain their seasonality with a gap between mid September to mid November and another between mid January to mid April. The gaps represent two periods of time fresh cherries are out of season in both the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere.
So there we have it, from improving cognitive function and boosting mood, to preventing illnesses such as gout and heart problems, there is no denying the incredible health benefits of cherries. To help kickstart your body's health, you should try incorporating more cherries into your diet. Not only are they delicious, but they are a great way to add more nutrients and vitamins to your diet.
Now you know all the health benefits of cherries, see how you can add more to your diet with our cherry recipes