5 Health Benefits of Cherries

1 – Cherries for Gout

Cherries are especially useful for treating gout.  Gout is a kind of arthritis linked to an unusually high amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is made in the liver and sometimes too much uric acid is made. Needlelike crystals form as uric acid levels increase, and these crystals build up in the joints over time, resulting in the pain and inflammation typical of gout.

Bing cherries have antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties, in particular a compound known as cyanidin, which has been found to inhibit the activity of the enzyme involved in the making of uric acid. Research has revealed that eating the equivalent of a pound of fresh cherries each day is highly effective for lowering uric acid levels.

One study demonstrated that healthy people who ate Bing cherries for 28 days had reduced inflammation markers and they stayed low for days despite discontinuation of cherry consumption.

Another study has also shown that eating cherries may lower risk of gout attacks. Gout sufferers consuming cherries for a 2 day period had a 35 % reduced risk of gout attacks when compared with those not eating cherries. The risk of gout flare continued decreasing with the increase of cherry intake, up to 3 servings over 2 days. It was found that additional cherry intake did not provide any extra benefit.

2 – Cherries for Sleep

Montmorency tart cherries have been found to contain substantial amounts of the hormone melatonin which has an effect on the sleep process. Although some other foods also have melatonin, the quantity is too low to be effective, but, according to research, Montmorency cherries have 0.1 to 0.3 milligram of melatonin a serving. At this dosage melatonin has been proven to be an efficient sleep inducer.

3 – Cherries for Cancer

Two of the anthocyanidins present in cherries, quercetin and isoquerxitrin, have been found to prevent the growth of colon cancer. Tart cherries contain the natural compound perillyl alcohol, which seems to be very effective in reducing the incidence of all kinds of cancer.  Perillyl alcohol has tested well for treating advanced prostate, breast and ovary cancers. Research suggests that substances in tart cherries can reduce the formation of the carcinogenic chemicals (HCAAs) that develop from the charring of meat.

4 – Cherries for Pain

Cherries are a natural pain reliever.   Researchers have found that anthocyanidins from cherries have the ability to block both COX-1 and COX-2, enzymes considered to cause pain. Of all the fruits which were tested, cherries had the highest amounts of key anthocyanidins. The COX-inhibitory activities of the anthocyanidins in cherries were even found to be comparable to those of naproxen and ibuprofen. One study revealed that men who had tart cherry juice after weight training exercises experienced less muscle pain as well as less strength loss.

5 – Cherries for Heart Health

Research shows that eating Bing cherries could decrease certain blood markers of heart disease. Quercetin found in cherries may help to prevent heart disease.

Nutrients in Cherries

Cherries are a very good source of vitamins C and A. They are a good source of copper, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese.

History of Cherries

Cherries were named after the ancient Turkish town of Cerasus and go as far back to at least 300 B.C.

Cherries were among the first fruits the early settlers brought to America. The first cherry orchard was planted in northern Michigan in the 1600s. The 1st commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893.

The ultimate celebration of cherries is the National Cherry Festival, which is held each year in July in Traverse City, Michigan.

Cherry trees have played a part in American folklore since George Washington chopped down his father’s cherry tree, then couldn’t tell a lie and told his father what he’d done.

Sweet cherries are cultivated throughout North America and Europe. France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Russia are big producers in Europe. Sour cherries are cultivated in Eastern Europe, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Germany tops the world in cherry production, followed by the United States.

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