Health Benefits of Cherries

Cherries are not only one of the healthiest fruits, they also rank as one of the most health protective foods overall. One cup, or about 21 cherries, contains less than 100 calories and 15% of your daily vitamin C needs. While there are several varieties of cherries, there are two ‘classifications’, tart and sweet. Both boosting a multitude of health benefits. Sweet cherries are often best eaten raw when they are at their nutritional peak. Tart cherries are typically cooked, frozen or dried.

Tart cherries have been shown to help with sleep. These cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep-wake cycles. One study in men and women with insomnia found that compared to a placebo, eight ounces of tart cherry juice in the morning and again one to two hours before bed increased sleep time.

Tart cherries also help lessen post workout pain. They work to help protect against the cellular wear and tear from exercise and help support muscle recovery. For this reason tart cherry juice is a beverage of choice among professional and competitive athletes. But it can help anyone who’s regularly active.

There's nothing like a bowl of fresh cherries when they're in season. But that's not the only way to embrace their nutritional perks. Look for frozen cherries, freeze-dried powders, 100% tart cherry juice, and preservative-free dried cherries. Frozen cherries or dried cherry powder can be added to smoothies or overnight oats. Tart cherry juice added to sparkling water is a fantastic summer time drink or drink it straight up if you're struggling with sleep, or want exercise recovery benefits. Make cherries and cherry products a staple part of your diet, here are some ideas.

Denise Boyd, BSc, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RNH) with a specialization in Cognitive and Immune Support.

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