Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 26, Cherry Dessert Day - Health Benefits of Cherries

About seventy percent of the cherries produced in the United States come from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. There are two main types of cherries: sweet and sour. Sour cherries are lower in calories and higher in vitamin C and beta-carotene than sweet cherries.




Selection
Select firm, red cherries with stems attached. Avoid soft, shriveled or blemished cherries. Good cherries should be large (one inch or more in diameter), glossy, plump, hard and dark-colored for their variety. Avoid fruit that is bruised or has cuts on the dark surface.

How to Store
Refrigerate cherries for up to 10 days.

Nutrition Benefits
Fat free; saturated fat free; sodium free; cholesterol free; good source of vitamin C; good source of potassium.


Health Benefits

Cancer
Sweet cherries have several cancer-preventive components including fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids and anthocyanins. The potential role of sweet cherries in cancer prevention lies mostly in the anthocyanin content, especially in cyanidin. Sweet cherries are a good source of cyanidins, which appear to act as an antioxidant and may reduce cancer risk.


Cardiovascular Disease
Sweet cherries have been shown to have significant levels of anthocyanins as well as other pigments in perhaps smaller concentrations that together provide synergistic effects thought to be protective to heart and related vascular tissue

Diabetes
Researchers are interested in the role of anthocyanins in reducing insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. The lower glycemic response shown in relation to cherry consumption may be the result of glucose-lowering effects of cherry phytochemicals in combination with the fiber content of cherries.


Potassium
Sweet cherries are considered a good source of dietary potassium, with approximately 260 mg potassium for every cup of fresh cherries consumed. Adequate potassium intake has shown to reduce the risk for hypertension and stroke.

Quercetin
Sweet cherries also contain a small amount of quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant which may play a beneficial role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and cancer.

Melatonin
Cherries are one plant food source of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in promoting healthy sleep patterns.

Ease muscle soreness
Researchers believe tart cherries’ antioxidants protect against exercise-induced free radicals, which can lead to painful inflammation.

Gout
Cherries may help reduce the swelling, inflammation and tenderness associated with gout. Research reveals eating about 2 cups fresh sweet Bing cherries daily lowered uric acid levels by 15%.


Recipes

1. EatingWell, Healthy Cherry Recipes
2. Health, 20 Cherry Recipes for Dessert, Dinner, and More
3. Better Homes and Gardens, Healthy Cherry Recipes
4. The Greatest Table: 5 Healthy Cherry Recipes from Around the Web

Resources
1. National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation, Health Benefits of Cherries
2. Fruits & Veggies - More Matters, Cherries & Heart Health


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