Would you believe I never had fresh cherries as a child? I thought those yucky sweet maraschino cherries were the ONLY cherries. Boy, was I wrong. Fresh cherries are one of my absolute favorite fruits. I was delighted to walk into the grocery store over the weekend and discover organic cherries for just a few bucks a pound! The health benefits of cherries are pretty awesome, so I stocked up!
According to the latest research, cherries:
- contain powerful antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, cyanidin, and quercetin;
- contain possible cancer preventative compounds, like fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins;
- reduce inflammation and risk of gout, according to recent studies;
- support healthy sleep, as they contain melatonin;
- relieve arthritis pain, particularly tart cherries because of their high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds;
- reduce belly fat, according to a study involving tart cherry powder;
- reduce post-exercise muscle pain, thanks to the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherries; and
- lower the risk of a stroke because they activate receptors in the body that regulate genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism.
I prefer them raw, but you can, of course, put them in a pie or cobbler. Peak season is short – May to July – so get ’em while you can!