Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Northwest Cherry Growers. Thank you for supporting the work we’re doing at Food Heaven!
New year, more cherries! Sweet cherries are one of our favorite fruits because they’re like nature’s candy. They’re perfectly sweet, hydrating, and provide a number of health benefits. From reducing diabetes risks to enhancing sleep, research shows that cherries are a superfruit offering health benefits for everyone!
You may be thinking, wait isn’t it the end of the year? How can I get my hands on some cherries? While fresh sweet cherries grown in the northwest are only available during the summer months, frozen or naturally-preserved cherries are available year-round and are an excellent alternative that allow you to enjoy the health benefits anytime! We love enjoying them on their own, adding them to yogurt, making cherry jam, and more! These little nutritional powerhouses are versatile in the kitchen and can be remixed into your favorite sweet (or savory) dishes.
As we’re going into a new year, there are many reasons to incorporate sweet cherries into your day– here are our top 20:
1) Hypertension is a risk factor in cardiovascular disease, and studies suggest phenolic acids found in cherries and produced by anthocyanin metabolism exert vasorelaxing and antihypertensive effects.
2) In lab studies, the phenolic compounds of sweet cherries appear to inhibit breast cancer cell growth without toxicity to normal cells.
3) Sweet cherry extracts have been shown to inhibit proliferation of colon and breast cancer cells in several published studies.
4) Sweet cherries contain perillyl alcohol – shown to be capable of inhibiting pancreatic, breast, liver, colon, skin and lung cancers – which raises the fruit’s anti-carcinogenic activity.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
5) Anthocyanins found in foods like sweet cherries inhibit lipid peroxidation, which has a hand in reducing CVD risk factors.
6) Anthocyanin interference with inflammation pathways can help in prevention of CVD.
7) Improved brain and visual function may result from anthocyanin’s interference in inflammation pathways.
8) Anthocyanins appear to exert neuroprotection, resulting in a beneficial effect on cognitive decline and neurodegeneration associated with aging.
9) Consumption of anthocyanins from cherries appears to improve memory and cognition in older adults with mild to moderate dementia.
10) The polyphenols in cherries appear to help diminish hyperglycaemia, oxidative stress and inflammatory markers that are predictors of diabetes mellitus.
11) Cherry extracts reduce glucose blood levels and protect pancreatic beta-cells from oxidative damage, enabling them to continue balanced production of insulin.
12) Consumption of cherries can significantly decrease plasma urate, which provides anti-gout efficacy.
13) Phenolics appear to interfere with the oxidative process as free radical terminators, ultimately decreasing formation of volatile decomposition products that contribute to gout.
14) Sweet cherries compared favorably to NSAID controls using ibuprofen and naproxen to alleviate gout symptoms.
15) Eating cherries significantly decreased C-reactive protein and nitrous oxide concentrations, pro-inflammatory factors.
16) Consuming cherries was found to decrease plasma concentrations of eight biomarkers associated with inflammatory diseases
17) Polyphenols in cherries may minimize or prevent inflammation and oxidative stress, which may be risk factors for diseases like arthritis, diabetes, cancer and hypertension.
18) The presence of tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin in sweet cherries interact with cherry phenolics to help regulate sleep cycles.
19) Cherry phenolics appear to protect neuronal cells from cell-damaging oxidative stress.
20) Various studies have shown serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that reduces stress and improves mood.
Wow. Those are all pretty legit reasons for incorporating more sweet cherries into your 2020. I know that was a lot of information, and if you like to geek out on science as much as we do, all resources to the above claims can be found in this really user-friendly guide here! How do you plan on incorporating more cherries into the new year?