Cherries make anything better simply by being placed on top, whether it’s a real cherry or used as a metaphor ;). Just the thought of them can be healing when we are reminded to look at life as if it were a bowl of cherries: simple, sweet, and beautiful.
Cherries also happen to have an incredible number of health benefits that make them one of the best things to snack on all summer long:
1. Super Anti-Inflammatory Properties
○ Sweet cherries contain anthocyanins, which appear to shut down enzymes that cause tissue inflammation in a similar manner to ibuprofen and naproxen. Increased inflammation is the underlying cause for numerous chronic human diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
2. Cancer Fighters
○ Research suggests that sweet cherries possess cancer-fighting properties. Among other compounds, cherries contain ellagic acid and anthocyanins, which appear to be potent inhibitors to the growth of cancer cells.
3. Take the Bite Out of Gout Attacks
○ A painful form of arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, gout affects more than 8.3 million Americans. Eating sweet cherries can lower the levels of uric acid in the blood, according to research conducted at the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center.
4. Sweet Cherries, Sweeter Dreams
○ One of the few plant sources of melatonin, sweet cherries are a natural, flavorful aid in improving the quality of sleep. Eating cherries about an hour before bedtime may help stabilize and regulate sleep patterns.
5. Fantastic Fiber
○ A cup of sweet cherries delivers approximately three grams of fiber, or about 12% of the daily value from USDA Dietary Guidelines. Just two cups of fruit daily can contribute to healthy weight maintenance, diabetes prevention and improved cardiovascular health.
6. Boost Brain Health
○ The anthocyanin compounds in cherries are linked to many exciting brain health benefits. These include: Improved brain and visual function from anthocyanin’s interference in inflammation pathways, improved memory and cognition in older adults with mild‑to‑moderate dementia, as well as neuroprotection, resulting in a beneficial effect on cognitive decline and neurodegeneration associated with aging.
And, of course, no homage to the cherry would be complete without adding one on top to seal the deal! 🙂
7. Stress Less
○ Cherries have compounds called phenolics, that appear to protect neuronal cells from cell-damaging oxidative stress.
Though fresh, Northwest cherries are only available in the summer, that doesn’t mean that cherry season has to end! Stock up on cherries while they are fresh, and perfectly ripe, then preserve them. Freezing sweet cherries is a great way to maintain all of their flavor and nutritional benefits. So just because we can’t make summer last forever, doesn’t mean we can’t hang on to some summer joy with cherries all year round.
Here’s a recipe I created with sweet cherries that you can have for breakfast, lunch or a sweet snack: