Cherries are available in many varieties ranging in flavor from sweet to tart and colors varying from white, pink, bright red and burgundy. It is referred to as “America’s super fruit” because of the supplies of vitamins A and C, antioxidants, protein and fiber.
The levels and types of antioxidants found in cherries help protect the heart and relieve painful inflammation caused by arthritis. In a study conducted on individuals ranging from ages 18 to 25, when a cup and a half of cherries were consumed, the antioxidants derived from them protected the body for up to twelve hours.
Below are specifics about the many health benefits of cherries:
- Great for Diabetes: Due to the antioxidant, anthocyanin, which helps provide the color pigmentation in cherries, studies have shown that this anthocyanin helped increase insulin production by as much as fifty percent; making it a great snack choice for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
- Reduces Risk of Heart Disease: In conjunction with the antioxidants found in cherries, they can also help to regulate blood pressure, regulate fat and blood sugar and protect the heart from disease.
- Protects the Colon: Fiber is essential to a healthy digestion system. When the digestive functions are not working properly, it can lead to colon disease, cancer, and other health issues.
- Supports Health Sleep: Consuming cherries or cherry juice before bedtime helps improve sleep by increasing the release of melatonin, which is essential to a good night’s sleep. Two university studies that were conducted showed that when participants drank 8 ounces of cherry juice, they experienced a significant reduction in erratic sleep and felt much more rested.
Cherries have been eaten since the days of ancient Greece. They were often served to Chinese noblemen and Roman conquerors and were introduced to America in the early 1600s when they arrived on ships of the early settlers.
The cherry trees frequented French gardens and were commonly found along the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. It was Michigan that first grew cherries on a commercial level, which occurred in 1893 on the famous Ridgewood Farm.
Cherries of any flavor are popular in fruit pies, ice creams, bread, and jellies. New varieties of cherries are being developed and add to the existing types. The state of Washington is a large cherry producer and Michigan still farms them commercially as well.
Whether enjoying the sweet cherry flavors or the tart, mouth-puckering varieties, cherries are a nutritious snack.