Cherries – Deliciously Healthy

April 30, 2013 Nutrition

cherriesCherries are so great that you can enjoy them simply for their taste. But on top of that, they are also very healthy. So, if you love cherries you will be happy to know that research showed they have many positive health effects. And if you don’t love them, maybe you will come to reconsider.

One of the studies was conducted by dr. Russell J. Reiter, professor of neuroendocrinology at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, quoted by Bob Trott. The study revealed that tart cherries contain melatonin, a hormone produced by the body and considered able to fight insomnia and jet lag. Melatonin soothes the nervous system, thus having positive effects in case of neurosis and headaches.

Cherries are rich in antioxidants, which are responsible for a great deal of their beneficial effects. Anthocyanins, usually found in red, purple or blue fruits and vegetables, have anti-inflammatory effects. The darker and sweeter the cherries are, the higher the content of anthocyanins. They alleviate the pain caused by gout arthritis because they lower the uric acid levels and reduce inflammation. In addition, they are said to neutralize free radicals that lead to inflammation of the muscles after body workout.

Anthocyanins could be a memory booster, according to a study made by the Nutrition and Food Science Department-CeRTA, Pharmacy Faculty, University of Barcelona, Spain. The study found that anthocyanins in blueberries may enhance memory, reversing age-related deficits in neuronal signaling and behavioural parameters after 8 weeks.

Cherries are also considered a remedy for cancer, thanks to its vitamin C, beta caroten, anthocyanins and quercetin and queritin (flavonoids). The combination of flavonoids and antioxidants found in cherries fights against free radicals and can slow the aging process.

The rich content in potassium make cherries effective for high blood pressure by counteracting the sodium effects. Very recent studies showed that cutting salt intake in half and increasing potassium intake could lower blood pressure, USA Today reads. According to Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Barts and London School of Medicine member of the research team, reducing salt consumption in half would prevent around 2.5 million deaths every year. Increasing potassium would enhance the beneficial effects. This would be possible by adding three additional fruits and vegetables serving a day. Professor MacGregor illustrates the increased potassium intake with an orange, banana or spinach, but cherries could also do the trick.

Besides vitamin C and potassium, Leo Galland, M.D says cherries are also rich in boron, a mineral that sustains bone health, especially in women.

Last, but not least, a study made at the University of Michigan Health System revealed that anthocyanins in cherries activate a molecule that enhances the weight losing process and decreases fat storage.

All these facts couldn’t make cherries more delicious but they could act as a reminder to enjoy them more often. So, enjoy many cherries – with a cherry on top, of course.