When you hear someone say that there are many health benefits of cherries, the first thought that comes to mind is often “but what about the taste?” After all, the fruit is naturally sweet, and most people do not like bitter fruit. But while cherry juice is certainly not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, it does have many health benefits. Even if you don’t like the taste, it can still be beneficial for your overall health, as it provides many essential vitamins and minerals. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.
1. Rich Nutritional Content
One of the main reasons they are so good for you is because of their rich nutritional content. As their name suggests, these cherries have a dark, almost black, bottom side when fully ripe, which is their natural defense against harmful pesticides. Research suggests that anthocyanin-rich compounds in cherries may fend off some cancer-causing toxins, such as those found in pesticides.
2. Reduce the Risk of Diseases
In fact, it has been proven that eating at least two servings a day of the berries, which are about 100 grams each, can lower your risk of certain types of cancer, such as bladder and colorectal cancer, among others. Furthermore, the antioxidant polyphenols (vitamin c and E) found in cherries may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), according to some studies.
3. Source of Potassium and Fiber
One of the Health Benefits of Cherries is that they are high in potassium and fiber, cherries make a great source of potassium, especially if you add some to your tea or oatmeal. Potassium is essential in regulating muscle contractions and other body functions, such as muscle cramps after you exercise, as well as regulating fluid levels in your cells. Many people get enough potassium in their diets through vegetables, meat, and fruit, however a lack of potassium in the diet can cause irregular heartbeats and weakness. As a result, high-potassium foods can provide a great source of energy for exercising and other activities.
4. Aid in Weight Loss
As for fiber, the combination of fructose and potassium in cherries makes them a great source of fiber, which helps you feel full without gaining weight. Because fiber is known to aid in losing weight, the fruit itself can be used as a weight loss aid. You can drink one cup of cherries and cut back on your food portion size by half for just one week. This way, you will still lose weight, but you will probably drop a few pounds from your thighs and stomach, which make them a great addition to a weight loss diet.
5. Fight Free Radicals and Health Problems
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the antioxidants and fiber mentioned earlier can help your body fight free radicals and other health problems. Free radicals are chemical molecules that are harmful because they attack healthy cells. For example, free radical damage is believed to have contributed to the development of cancerous tumors. Thus, it is believed that cherries can help prevent the formation of these tumors by providing their skin with vitamin C, which helps fight off these harmful molecules.
6. Prevent Osteoporosis
Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables and although eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables is important in preventing osteoporosis and other diseases of old age, researchers believe that taking small amounts of fruit and vegetables every day can provide enough vitamin C to help protect your body. Fortunately, Cherries have an abundance of vitamin C in them, so they are a great addition to any diet. One cup of fresh cherries contains about 225mg of vitamin C, making them a superior choice over Vitamin C enriched oranges or spinach.
7. Provide Anti-oxidants
One of the most important things that cherries have to offer is antioxidants. Antioxidants work to fight off free radicals that may cause damage to our cells and cause a variety of different health problems. Free radicals are harmful because they attack the healthy cells in our body and tend to make our immune systems weak and prone to illness. Antioxidants help to counteract these effects by forming a protective shield around our cells and keeping them healthy. Studies have shown that eating a diet high in antioxidants can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and some forms of Alzheimer’s disease. And of course, cherries are full of antioxidants!
In addition to all of these wonderful health benefits of cherries, the pulp of fresh cherries contains a number of minerals and nutrients that you may not get from other dried fruits. For example, cherries contain almost one hundred and twenty milligrams of potassium, which is vital to maintaining proper water balance in your body. Potassium also helps to regulate blood pressure and has been shown to relieve muscle spasms and cramps in people who have been injured. Other minerals found in cherries include sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, calcium, and potassium, which are all essential for good health.