Cherries, among other healthy foods is thought to be good for us. We live in the times in which our health takes priority amid all the challenges that we are facing due to corona virus which has invaded our lives in a way that is unprecedented.
If at any point we have taken our health for granted, we cannot afford to do so any longer. Healthy living matters. If anything this pandemic has made us realise that.
Experts have long been advocating the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables as they are packed with nutrients and bioactive compounds.
These compounds are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Cherries are one of those foods that contain the said plant compounds which are thought to have potential health benefits.
Whilst cherries may be good as purported, they are not a silver bullet as no one food is. Consuming variety of foods may supply us with the nutrients the body needs, say experts.
Stay tuned as we unpack whether cherries are good for you or not.
Sweet and Tart Cherries
Cherries are said to be a type of stone fruit that belongs to genus prunes, a family of apricot, almond and plum.
They are red in colour and have got their pigment from the anthocyanin a plant compound found in most plant based foods.
According to research there are two types of cherries, the sweet and tart cherries. Sweet cherries are varied, the most common ones are the dark red sweet cherries, referred to as Bing in USA.
Tart cherries are referred to as Montmorency. It is a bit sour in taste and is used mostly for cooking and baking while the sweet cherries are eaten fresh.
They can also be frozen, juiced, brinned, canned or dried. Both sweet and tart cherries have the same nutritional content.
Research indicates that “melatonin and serotonin have an effect against oxidation, ageing, stress and have an important function as neuromodulator in the central nervous system”.
Cherries are cultivated in most countries such as Europe, North America, Iran etc. The European Union-27, is the largest cherry producer, followed by Turkey and United States taking the third place, according to Washington State University.
“South Africa has only started growing cherries in 2017. The industry is growing fast and production has increased by 25% ever since”.
Can Cherries Improve The Quality Of Sleep And Mood?
Cherries are said to be nutrient dense, this includes, polyphenols, carotenoids, anthocyanin, vitamin C, among other nutrients.
It is believed that tart cherries are a rich source of melatonin which is responsible for regulating the sleep and wake cycle in humans. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal glands in the brain. It can also be found in plant based foods.
They are believed to posses serotonin as well. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is believed to regulate most of our behaviors, mood and memory.
A study was conducted in which 20 participants drank tart juice concentrate or a placebo for seven days.
The results suggested that “Consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing a disturbed sleep”
Can Cherries benefit Brain Health?
Cherries are thought to be packed with polyphenols which are deemed potent and may benefit brain health. Find the list of foods for a healthy brain, here
According to University of Delaware, the results of the study, suggest that older adults who consume tart cherry juice on a daily basis, may have improved cognitive function
The effects of tart cherry juice is attributed to the “polyphenols, anthocyanin, and melatonin present in them and the blood pressure lowering effects they possess, as the blood pressure can influence the flow of blood to the brain”
Can Cherries Reduce Muscle Pain After a strenuous Exercise?
According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, long-distance running can cause severe muscle damage resulting in acute inflammation.
“Endurance athletes use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, during competition to prevent or reduce pain”and it is thought to have adverse effects”
Research reveals that when “tart cherry is ingested seven days before and during a strenuous running event can reduce post-run muscle pain”.
The benefits of tart cherry are attributed to “the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity of cherries”.
Do Cherries Have Side Effects Due To Sorbitol Content
It is reported sorbitol is a sugar alcohol which the human body can metabolize slowly. It occurs naturally in pears and apples as well as stone fruits such as apricot and peaches. Cherries are among those fruits that contain sorbitol. Sorbitol can also be artificially produced.
According to research excessive ingestion of sorbitol can cause gastrointestinal issues such as mild to severe diarrhea, abdominal pain and flatulence in some persons as it is thought to have laxative effects. It is not fully absorbed in the small intestine.
How To Prepare Cherry Juice
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 Minutes
Serves: 2 servings
- 15 fresh and ripe cherries
- 2 and half cups of diced water melon
- 3 plums
- 4 ice cubes
1) Rinse cherries and plums and remove the seeds of cherries
2) Boil plums in hot water for two minutes and quickly immerse in cold water for a minute. If at all you like the tart taste you can leave the skin on or otherwise remove it.
3) Cut plums into halves and remove the stones.
4) Blend cherries, water melon and plums in a blender until smooth puree. Strain puree through sieve, collect juice in a bowel, and remove watermelon seeds.
5) Add the ice cubes in serving glasses and fill them up with fruitful and natural juice of red cherry.
Note: you can use a juicer instead of a blender if you like. For more information about blending versus juicing, click here.
This recipe is credited to Foodviva.com (It is not the product of this site)
There are two types of cherries, tart, and sweet cherries. Sweet cherries are varied, but the most common sweet cherries are dark red cherries, referred to as Bing in the USA.
Tart cherries are referred to as Montmorency. The USA is the third-largest producer of cherries, both sweet and tart, whilst the European Union-27 takes the lead and is followed by Turkey.
Cherries are one of those superfoods that are packed with plant compounds believed to have potential health benefits.
They are rich in melatonin which plays a role in regulating the sleep and wake cycle in humans and the serotonin which regulates our behaviors and moods.
Whilst cherries may be considered a superfood, experts advocate that eating a healthy balanced diet is key. No one food can supply the body with all the nutrients needed or you’ll run the risk of nutrient deficiency.
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