The season for cherries has here, but do these delicious, tiny fruits really provide any health benefits? For further information on the health advantages of cherries, both sweet and tart, and how to incorporate more cherries into your diet this summer, we consulted with nutrition experts that specialise in cherries.
Jessica Isaacs, R.D., C.S.S.D., an NBA nutritionist and member of Cheribundi’s recovery advisory board, states that cherries are an excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. She specifies that a typical serving size of cherries is one cup of unpitted cherries, a quarter cup of dried cherries, or eight ounces of tart cherry juice.
So, how does this affect your normal dosage? The health benefits of cherries, both sweet and tart, are discussed at length by specialists so that cherry eaters of all stripes can make informed decisions about which variety of the summer fruit to indulge in.
The Cherry’s Health Benefits
1. They aid in restful sleep.
Tart cherry juice or cherry extract may help you get to sleep and remain asleep if you’re seeking for a natural sleep aid. Nutrition scientist and registered dietitian at MyFitnessPal Stephanie Nelson, M.S., R.D., explains that this is because the cherry juice can affect your levels of tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin, all of which have a role in regulating sleep.
2. Cherry juice has anti-inflammatory properties.
Sweet cherries are an excellent plant-based option for those trying to reduce inflammation in the body. Eating sweet cherries may reduce inflammatory biomarkers and aid in the prevention of chronic inflammatory disorders like diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease, according to the research. As Isaacs notes, anthocyanins have been linked to significantly reduced inflammation. In addition, polyphenols, which are found in plants and have an antioxidant impact, are present in cherries, according to Nelson. This can serve to mitigate inflammation and prevent further injury.
3. They help maintain cardiovascular wellness.
Inflammation leads to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which is the root cause of heart disease, as explained by Nelson. Cherries’ anti-inflammatory properties make them a useful tool in the fight against coronary heart disease. According to Northwest Cherry Growers spokeswoman and associate professor of nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., C.S.S.D., cherry consumption can reduce hypertension due of the fruit’s high potassium content.
Cholesterol-lowering foods are plentiful, and cherries are just one of them. Foods rich in anthocyanins (a powerful antioxidant found in highly coloured fruits) have been linked in studies to increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and decreased levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.
4. They might prevent cancer
Recently, researchers found that black cherry extracts may be utilised to treat breast cancer cells in the lab, leading them to conclude that these extracts include cancer-fighting chemicals that can limit cancer cell proliferation.
5. They can assist you in losing weight
According to Nelson, cherries are a great way to get more fibre into your diet with 3 grammes of fibre per cup. Because high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables aid in satiety, this is especially helpful for those trying to lose weight, she says. Pritchett adds that cherries, thanks to their high fibre content, are low-glycemic, which means they aid with blood sugar regulation. In the grand scheme of things, this can help you lose weight.
6. They are beneficial to the skin.
Nelson argues that cherries’ strong vitamin C content is just as important as their high fibre content because it is necessary to generate the collagen that makes up your skin. She mentions that one serving of cherries can offer roughly 11 percent of your daily vitamin C intake, or 10 milligrams.
7. Subsequent to an exercise, cherry consumption has been shown to hasten recuperation
Nelson claims that consuming cherries after exercise helps hasten recovery and lessen muscle discomfort caused by activity-related muscle injury (such as the normal ripping of muscles). According to Isaacs, studies show that tart cherries improve endurance exercise performance by boosting muscle oxygen delivery.
8. They are beneficial to brain health.
Tart cherries and tart cherry juice, according to Isaacs’s research, contain antioxidants and polyphenols that may have a neuroprotective impact. Cherry anthocyanin has been linked by Pritchett to enhanced brain and eyesight function as well as enhanced memory and cognition in adults.
What’s best: fresh cherries, frozen ones, cherry juice, or dried ones?
According to Nelson, the fundamental distinction between the two types of cherries is that cherry juice does not include the fibre that whole cherries do. This may reduce the benefits of consuming more fibre, but she suggests increasing your vitamin and mineral intake with cherry juice. If you’re looking to get the most out of your workout, sleep, and inflammation reduction, tart cherry juice may be the way to go, says Isaacs.
In Nelson’s opinion, fresh and frozen cherries are essentially interchangeable. Get whatever suits your needs right now. However, Isaacs cautions against dried cherries because they may include more sugar and contain less fiber than fresh ones.
How healthy are cherries?
Cherries offer flavour to a low-calorie diet and may help with weight loss. They’re surprisingly filling for how little they are. According to Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., C.S.S.D., associate professor of nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University, a cup of sweet cherries contains only 90 calories and delivers roughly 3 g of fibre.
Which varieties of cherries are best for you?
Eat sweet, tart, rainier, and Montmorency cherries, as recommended by Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., founder of Nutrition Starring YOU and author of The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook. These cherry types can be a delicious way to include more healthy eating into your routine because they share comparable nutritional profiles, including vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants.