Food in the Spotlight

Cherries for Better Health: The Many Health Benefits of Cherries

health benefits of cherries

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As mentioned in our previous article, “The Many Health Benefits of Cherries”, cherries are indeed a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. Cherries are known to contain significant amounts of vitamins A and C, iron, antioxidants and dietary fiber. As such, making cherries a regular part of your Mediterranean diet can help you reduce inflammation throughout your body, minimize oxidative stress and keep your heart in top condition. Sounds impressive? Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Wait until you read this!

Some Other Health Benefits of Cherries  

Aside from its wonderful taste, cherries are also known to be very good for your health. By making cherries a regular part of your Mediterranean diet, here’s what you stand to achieve:

  • A trim waistline and a leaner figure
  • Better sleep
  • Significant memory boost
  • Effective protection against cancer

Cherries can help you achieve your ideal weight. A study conducted at the University of Michigan in 2009 discovered that laboratory animals fed with a high-fat diet supplemented with tart-cherry powder gained less weight and body fat as compared to those who were fed with equal calories from carbohydrate sources. This led the experts to a conclusion that the anthocyanins in tart cherries can help burn fat, reduce overall fat storage, and reduce your susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease as well.

It can help promote a good night’s sleep. Tart cherries contain melatonin, a hormone responsible for maintaining your body’s circadian rhythm (natural sleep pattern) and thus, help prevent insomnia. In a study conducted at the University of Rochester, it was observed that adults suffering from chronic insomnia showed significant improvements both in the length and the quality of sleep by eating cherries or drinking cherry juice before retiring for the night. This study was published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food.

Does this sound good enough for you? Well, it should be. But that’s not all. Did you know that by promoting better sleep, your body also gains the power to minimize weight gain? Well, that’s really quite something, don’t you agree?

It can help boost your memory. If you have problems remembering things, you need to know that the anthocyanin content of tart cherries can help prevent memory loss quite effectively. No wonder, tart cherries have gained the recognition of being one of the world’s best foods for the brain.

According to a study involving laboratory animals, researchers found sufficient evidence that the phenolic compounds found in tart cherries significantly protect brain cells from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. This particular study was published in the December 2005 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. The melatonin content of tart cherries may likewise play a role in preventing and reducing memory loss.

Additionally, a study published in the August 2004 issue of the European Journal of Pharmacology observed that melatonin, the hormone responsible for maintaining your normal circadian rhythm, also exerts a powerful neuroprotective effect.  As such, adding cherries to your diet can possibly help reduce the risk of memory loss, senile dementia and other such neurodegenerative conditions among the aging adult population.

Cherries can help protect your body against cancer. Cherries contain cyanidin, a powerful antioxidant that can be very effective in eliminating cancer-causing cells. It also contains quercetin (an antioxidant that has been proven effective in killing breast, colon, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic and lung cancer cells) and ellagic acid (a phytochemical that is effective in preventing bladder, breast, esophagus, lung and skin cancer). Rest assured, the cancer-fighting abilities of cherries have been proven and documented in numerous scientific studies throughout the years.

Now that you know about all the health benefits of cherries, are you ready to make it a part of your regular Mediterranean diet? Well, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t!

Here’s to your health,

Ray Baker