This is the third post of Fruits With Benefits: Eating Healthy From A to Z.
To see the complete series, click here.
Hello everyone! Hope you had an awesome weekend. For those who are celebrating Chinese New Year, I’m sure you’ve received numerous hongbaos to kickoff another healthy and prosperous year ahead :)
Enjoying better vision? Clearer memory? Trimmer waist? Good – keep munching on those blueberries. Every other Monday I’ll be filling you up with a juicy fruit that quells your sugar cravings and fully satisfies your appetite. With bite-sized information and easy-to-grab fruits, I aim to make you eat more of these goods so you can feel good and look good.
I AM A HUGE LOVER OF FRUITS. MY MOTHER MADE ME EAT AN APPLE EVERYDAY SINCE I WAS VERY YOUNG. THANKS TO HER, I HAD A LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH APPLES FOR A WHILE. BUT NOW THAT I’M 22 AND RIPE, I’VE GROWN TO ENJOY THE SWEET TREATS SO MUCH THAT I CAN’T IMAGINE LIVING A DAY WITHOUT FRUITS. IT’S BECOME A SECOND NATURE FOR ME TO GRAB A FUJI APPLE OFF THE FRIDGE EVERY MORNING WHEN I WAKE UP. I EVEN HAVE FRUIT CRAVINGS, AND MOST OF THE TIME IT’S EITHER MANGOES OR AVOCADOS.
HOWEVER, I AM NOT A REGISTERED DIETICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED MEDICAL PRACTITIONER, AND THIS POST IS INTENDED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE MAKING ANY DIETARY CHANGES.
JUST FOR THE LOVE OF cherries, ALLOW ME TO SHARE MY LOVE FOR IT WITH YOU TODAY.
– Image courtesy of 66 Square Feet
Known to relieve pain, delay signs of aging, and even add years to your life, cherries are the anti-inflammatory superstar of all fruits. A UC Davis study shows that you can almost immediately see the anti-inflammatory effects of cherries within just 28 days of consistent consumption.
In many cases, cherries are touted as a powerful painkiller. As a natural alternative, doctors have been prescribing cherries for patients to fend off migraines and headaches. Physicians recommend cherry juices as a post-workout fuel for long-distance runners to ease joint and muscle pain. Compounds in cherries help you doze off to sleep easier too.
I know – you never knew how awesome they are, right?
Previously, we’ve already established that antioxidants protect cells against the damaging effects of free radicals. Anthocyanins, the powerful antioxidant in blueberries, is also abundant in cherries. Increasing consumption of these plant-derived metabolites is often associated with slower aging, prevention from cancers of all kind, and boosting longevity.
As it turns out, the red, tart, delicate cherries may look as innocent as a pie – but there is so much more to them than meets the eye:
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHERRIES
- Dietary Fiber – Cherries are a great source of fiber, which is responsible for encouraging a healthy digestive system. Pectin, a soluble fiber found in cherries, is found to lower LDL cholesterol levels to prevent heart disease. Fiber also helps you feel fuller longer to avoid overeating. Just one cup of cherries provides up to 12% of your daily fiber needs with only 87 calories.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an antioxidant that heals wounds and keeps your skin, muscles, tendons, bones, cartilage, ligaments, blood vessels, and gum healthy. This water-soluble vitamin is vital for maintaining a strong immune system. Vitamin C also functions to help increase iron absorption into your body (and your body uses the iron you get from foods to make red blood cells). Eating cherries is a great way to maintain your overall health while preventing dry skin, splitting hair, and many different types of cancers.
- Potassium – Potassium is essential for building proteins, promoting muscle growth, and maintaining healthy electrical activities in your nervous system. Cherries are relatively high in potassium, and regular consumption of it can help in lowering blood pressure and preventing digestive problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. Because stomach is the most acidic part in the human body, it’s essential to consume potassium-rich foods regularly to balance the pH levels in your system.
- Manganese – Manganese can be found in the bones, liver, pancreas, kidneys, pituitary and adrenals glands, and the brain. This trace mineral is important to maintain healthy skin and bones. As an enzyme activator, manganese is essential for stabilizing blood sugar levels, controlling cholesterol metabolism, and maintaining proper nervous system function. Though deficiency is a rare case, not getting enough manganese slows down collagen production and may cause abnormal skeletal development.
- Anthocyanins – Cherries are known for their shades of reds and pinks. Like blueberries, cherries are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanins, which not only gives the fruit those pretty shades but also potentially treats diseases associated with inflammation. In the medical community, pain relievers have been swapped to cherries and cherry juices to soothe soreness, ease aching joints and for pro-athletes to speed up muscle recovery.
- Beta-carotene – Beta-carotene is another compound that gives cherries its warm, vibrant colors. As soon as it enters your gut, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, the antioxidant your retina needs to have a well-functioning vision and to prevent night blindness. Good to note that one serving of cherries contain 19 times more beta-carotene than that of blueberries.
- Melatonin – Your body produces the antioxidant melatonin to make you sleep every night. Regular doses of cherries as a midnight snack can improve the regulation of heart rhythms while potentially treating chronic insomnia.
You’ve probably never found sweet treats that are this good for you – all the more reason why you should indulge in more cherries. Aside from the usual dessert topping, there are many other ways to use them and add that zing into your daily meals. These are the few that I’ve tried:
3 SIMPLE WAYS TO ENJOY CHERRIES
- Recreate Julia Child’s Cherry Clafouti! Remember to limit yourself with the icing sugar (but don’t be too much of a health freak like my failed attempt making blueberry clafouti. Just trust butter and don’t use whole grain flour!) Cherries are tangier than blueberries, so they’re more resilient for baking.
- Snack on it: Simply grab a handful whenever you’re craving something sweet :) I have it during my afternoon slumps or as a midnight snack.
- Pick two handfuls and make this cherry sauce to top your favorite meat! Inspired by Food Network‘s duck breast recipe, I whipped up this menu the other night for my family. I have 0% knowledge about cooking and tenderizing meat … but taste-wise I nailed it! :)
Have you bitten any cherries today?