The health benefits of cherries include an improved vision, a stronger immune system, relief from infections, and improved digestion. They are rich in anti-aging properties as well as antioxidants, which can help in preventing illnesses. Cherries may also help prevent cancer.
What are Cherries?
Cherries, which have the scientific name Prunus avium, are one of the most romantic fruits. They are eaten all around the world and are often a favorite flavor or used as an ingredient in cooking. Predominantly a fruit of cold countries, cherries look and taste wonderful. Research conducted from the University of California shows that cherries are a nutrient-dense fruit that is low in calories and comes in both sweet and tart flavors.
According to the USDA Nutrition Database, cherries provide a wide range of rich nutrients that include it is rich in potassium, calcium, fiber, carotenoids, and vitamin C. The fruit also contains magnesium, iron, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin E and B6.
Serving Size : Nutrient Value Water [g] 82.25 Energy 63 Energy [kJ] 263 Protein [g] 1.06 Total lipid (fat) [g] 0.2 Ash [g] 0.48 Carbohydrate, by difference [g] 16.01 Fiber, total dietary [g] 2.1 Sugars, total including NLEA [g] 12.82 Sucrose [g] 0.15 Glucose (dextrose) [g] 6.59 Fructose [g] 5.37 Maltose [g] 0.12 Galactose [g] 0.59 Calcium, Ca [mg] 13 Iron, Fe [mg] 0.36 Magnesium, Mg [mg] 11 Phosphorus, P [mg] 21 Potassium, K [mg] 222 Zinc, Zn [mg] 0.07 Copper, Cu [mg] 0.06 Manganese, Mn [mg] 0.07 Fluoride, F [µg] 2 Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg] 7 Thiamin [mg] 0.03 Riboflavin [mg] 0.03 Niacin [mg] 0.15 Pantothenic acid [mg] 0.2 Vitamin B-6 [mg] 0.05 Folate, total [µg] 4 Folate, food [µg] 4 Folate, DFE [µg] 4 Choline, total [mg] 6.1 Vitamin A, RAE [µg] 3 Carotene, beta [µg] 38 Vitamin A, IU [IU] 64 Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg] 85 Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg] 0.07 Tocopherol, beta [mg] 0.01 Tocopherol, gamma [mg] 0.04 Tocotrienol, alpha [mg] 0.03 Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg] 2.1 Fatty acids, total saturated [g] 0.04 14:0 [g] 0 16:0 [g] 0.03 18:0 [g] 0.01 Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g] 0.05 16:1 [g] 0 18:1 [g] 0.05 Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g] 0.05 18:2 [g] 0.03 18:3 [g] 0.03 Phytosterols [mg] 12 Tryptophan [g] 0.01 Threonine [g] 0.02 Isoleucine [g] 0.02 Leucine [g] 0.03 Lysine [g] 0.03 Methionine [g] 0.01 Cystine [g] 0.01 Phenylalanine [g] 0.02 Tyrosine [g] 0.01 Valine [g] 0.02 Arginine [g] 0.02 Histidine [g] 0.02 Alanine [g] 0.03 Aspartic acid [g] 0.57 Glutamic acid [g] 0.08 Glycine [g] 0.02 Proline [g] 0.04 Serine [g] 0.03 Sources include : USDA
Health Benefits of Cherries
A research conducted by Ferretti G in the Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy, report that cherries are storehouses of antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids (anthocyanins). They effectively neutralize free radicals and protect us from ailments associated with aging. They also prevent the negative effects of oxidants such as weakening of the heart and nervous system, loss of vision, macular degeneration, hair loss, wrinkling of the skin, loss of libido, as well as colon and prostate cancer.
Apart from protecting against the damage of free radicals, the antioxidants (vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids) also boost immunity and protect us from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, particularly those of the colon, urinary tract, intestines, and excretory. According to a study published in 2012, cherries are also effective in helping to prevent arthritis and inflammation. They are also very effective against flu, fevers, and gout.
According to the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), cherries rich in nutrients and dietary fiber may help in getting rid of the excess body fat which is linked to a higher risk of developing cancer.
Research conducted at Michigan State University and published in the Cancer Letters journal suggests that tart cherries contain anthocyanins and cyanidin, properties that may help lower your risk of colon cancer.
Another study on tart cherries shows a potential activity of apoptosis in human breast cancer cells. The results, however, show a biphasic pattern and more studies are awaited.
The antioxidants in cherries can play a powerful role in maintaining healthy eyes. They can protect eyes against damage done by free radicals and aging such as vision loss, macular degeneration, and dryness. They also help in soothing the eyes, reducing inflammation, and maintaining proper ocular pressure.
Improve Brain Function
Flavonoids and carotenoids are effective phytonutrients that improve the efficiency of the brain, memory, and cognitive function, which are otherwise reduced due to the action of free radicals as a nearly unavoidable part of aging. The antioxidant properties of these cherries may also protect the nervous system from age-related disorders. Thus, they may be helpful in giving relief from nervous disorders, depression, anxiety, and chronic stress.
Aid in Digestion
While the fiber in cherries helps relieve constipation, the acid in them aids digestion. Again, the antioxidants in cherries keep the digestive system in order. The flavonoids stimulate the gastric juices for the break down of food particles and bile, which then helps break down fats and fat-soluble vitamins for better absorption and usage.
Reduce Heart Diseases
The nutrients in cherries like vitamins, antioxidants (flavonoids and carotenoids), and minerals such as phosphorus are excellent cardio-protectors. They protect the heart from damage done by the oxidants. They help maintain proper heart rate, prevent blood vessels from stiffening or hardening (atherosclerosis), and reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks. They also can strengthen the cardiac muscles.
Improve Sleep Quality
Cherries also contain a high amount of melatonin, or a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep cycle, and is released from the pineal gland in the brain. In a pilot study from the Journal of Medicinal Food, tart cherry juice can possibly improve sleep in older adults that experience insomnia. Although the study had limitations, further studies of the sleep-promoting benefits of cherries continue to be conducted.
Tired of reading this black and white text? Soothe your eyes and refresh yourself with a few cherries. Or you can make some cherry cobbler and relish the dessert. The ways to eat these powerful fruits are almost limitless, so enjoy!