Cherry up: Discover the 6 health benefits of cherries


by Leslie Locklear

 

Big things come in small packages. Just take a look at cherries.

Considered some of the world’s most popular fruits, cherries were once endemic to Western Asia, although they are now cultivated in other regions, mostly in Europe and Asia.

As noted by experts, there are two main species of cherries, namely, sweet cherry (Prunus avium) and tart or sour cherry (Prunus cerasus). Each of these two species have hundreds of different varieties and cultivars.

Sweet cherries are usually eaten fresh, while tart cherries are used more for cooking and canning.

Cherries are known for their health-supporting properties, which are commonly attributed to their nutrient-dense nature.

Some of the most nutritious fruits known to man, cherries are a good source of dietary fiber, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, calcium, vitamin A and folic acid.

Cherries are so nutrient-dense that just one cup or 154 grams (g) of sweet, raw, pitted cherries provides the following:

– 2 g Protein

– 25 g Carbohydrates

– 3 g Dietary fiber

– Vitamin C: 18 percent of the Daily Value (DV)

– Potassium: 10 percent of the DV

– Copper: 5 percent of the DV

– Manganese: 5 percent of the DV

Experts, however, are starting to point to the high amounts of phytochemicals called polyphenols present in cherries as the main reason behind their potency.

What are polyphenols?

Polyphenols are a large class of plant chemicals that can help stave off cellular damage by neutralizing free radicals. This means that the consumption of cherries can be linked to several important health benefits, such as:

Protection from the effects of oxidative stress

Cherries are known for their high antioxidant content. This means that just like other antioxidant-rich foods, cherries can effectively help combat oxidative stress, which has been linked to premature aging and chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia and certain cancers.

Reduced inflammation

Cherries, as mentioned earlier, contain high levels of polyphenols. Among these, anthocyanins and cyanidin are noted for having potent anti-inflammatory effects.

According to studies, these antioxidants could be beneficial to people who are suffering from inflammatory conditions like arthritis. In fact, a review noted that eating cherries effectively reduced inflammation in 11 out of 16 studies.

Cherries, as mentioned earlier, contain high levels of polyphenols. Among these, anthocyanins and cyanidin are noted for having potent anti-inflammatory effects.

According to studies, these antioxidants could be beneficial to people who are suffering from inflammatory conditions like arthritis. In fact, a review noted that eating cherries effectively reduced inflammation in 11 out of 16 studies.

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