Cherries are a special treat and have been prized for centuries due to the beauty of the trees, the sweet fragrance of the blossoms and many variations of taste this little fruit offers.
Originally a gift of friendship from Japan to the United States in 1912, it is an exalted flowering plant that to this day has it's own celebration in the annual cherry festival from Michigan to Japan.
Cherries are a high-water fruit. This is beneficial for weight loss and helps keep you cool in the summer heat. They are also low in sodium, yet high in natural potassium which is the perfect balance to help control water retention.
The main nutrients of cherries include Vitamins C and A, Bioflavonoids, Anthocyanins (an antioxidant), Melatonin and Ellagic Acid. This mix of nutrients means extra health benefits for you.
Most importantly, they are shown to alleviate inflammation throughout the body. Internal inflammation is a natural body process that fights infection, and is helpful to overcome illness.
However, many people are in a chronic state of inflammation which can be dangerous to your health. In fact, cardiologists have been learning how reducing inflammation is a major factor for lowering risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The anthocyanins found in cherries are a top antioxidant which reduces oxidative stress in the arteries, lowering the risk for cardiovascular disease. They also seem to lower blood lipids, again reducing the risk for heart disease and probably even help fight certain cancers.
The melatonin of cherries helps balance the body to allow healthy, night-time sleep patterns. Getting proper deep sleep is important for staying healthy, fighting disease and - believe it or not - weight loss. And having enough restful sleep contributes to lowering stress, another contributing factor to heart disease.
The combination of nutrients also means consuming cherries can help slow the aging process and protect us from cancer. Another major group of antioxidants found in cherries, called anthocyanins, neutralize free radicals (linked to premature aging and disease) while they repair the damage done by them.
On top of all these health benefits of cherries, they taste great! To receive these great benefits, try eating 1 cup of fresh or frozen cherries. If you're fortunate to live near a grove where you can pick your own cherries, stock up! These are often the most flavorful and pesticide-free (ask the owner of the orchard for details). You can freeze them by the serving and use as a snack or in a smoothie at your convenience.
If you don't have access to an orchard, then organic, dark cherry juice is your next best option. For health benefits, try just 1 cup of cherry juice or 2 Tablespoons a day of Cherry Juice Concentrate. Your heart will be happy you did.