Cherries are among one of the most popular, most beloved fruits, and for a good reason.
They’re not only tasty, but they’re also packed with vitamins, minerals, and other active compounds with powerful health benefits. Here are some impressive health benefits that cherries boast.
Health Benefits of Cherries
Stuffed With Nutrients
Cherries are tiny stone fruits that grow in a variety of flavors and colors. There are two major kinds — tart (Prunus cerasus L.) and sweet cherries (Prunus avium L.). Despite these variations, both are incredibly nutritious and filled with vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
One cup (154 grams) of sweet cherries provides approximately:
- Calories: 97
- Vitamin C: 18% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Potassium: 10% of the DV
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Copper: 5% of the DV
- Manganese: 5% of the DV
These nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, benefit health in significant ways.
For instance, vitamin C is necessary for supporting your immune system and skin health. At the same time, potassium helps muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, nerve function, and many other significant bodily processes. Cherries are also rich in fiber, supporting a healthy digestive system by supplying helpful gut bacteria and supporting bowel regularity. Furthermore, cherries provide B vitamins, manganese, magnesium, copper, and vitamin K – all of which boast valuable benefits.
Good Source of Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory Compounds
The elevated concentration of active compounds in cherries may be responsible for the fruit’s various health benefits. Though the exact amount and type of antioxidants can fluctuate depending on the variety of cherries, all of them boast antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
These antioxidants may help fight oxidative stress, a condition linked to multiple incurable diseases and premature aging. One study found that consuming cherries regularly effectively decreased inflammation in 11 out of 16 reviews and oxidative stress markers in 8 out of 10 studies.
Cherries are incredibly high in polyphenols, an extensive group of plant compounds that help combat cellular degeneration, reduce inflammation and promote overall health. Polyphenol-rich diets may help against many chronic diseases, including diabetes, mental decline, and certain types of cancer.
Can Promote Physical Recovery
Study shows that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant content in cherries may help alleviate exercise-induced muscle discomfort and inflammation. Tart cherries seem to be more efficient than sweet varieties. However, both may help relieve athletes of physical pain.
Furthermore, evidence suggests that cherry products may improve exercise performance. A study conducted on 27 endurance runners demonstrated that those who ate 480mg of powdered tart cherries every day for ten days before a half-marathon experienced 13% faster race times and endured much less muscle soreness than a placebo group.
Though most studies reviewing the connections between cherries and exercise involve athletes, tart cherry juice may benefit non-athletes just the same way.
Though encouraging, these findings are associated with concentrated cherry produce, such as powder or juice. It’s unclear how many fresh, sweet cherries you would need to eat to mimic these results.
May Be Good For Heart Health
Increased intake of nutrient-dense cherries is a palatable way to protect your heart. Many studies confirm that diets rich in fruits are linked to a reduced risk of heart diseases. Cherries are especially useful in this regard, as they’re high in nutrients and compounds known to promote heart health.
One cup (154 grams) of sweet cherries provides about 10% of the DV for potassium, a mineral essential for maintaining your healthy heart. Potassium is needed to support a regular heartbeat and eliminate excess sodium from your body, regulating blood pressure.
That said, higher intakes of potassium have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Moreover, cherries are a good source of powerful polyphenol antioxidants, including anthocyanins, flavonols, and catechins, all of which may help keep your heart protected against cellular damage.
May Promote Better Sleep Quality
Consuming tart cherries or drinking the juice may help improve sleep quality, also you can add cherry juice to your daily healthy smoothie. These sleep-boosting benefits may be associated with the fruit’s high concentration of plant compounds. Moreover, the fruit contains melatonin, a natural substance that helps improve your sleep-wake cycle.
A study conducted on 20 people showed that those who had tart cherry juice for seven days experienced notable increases in melatonin levels, sleep duration, and overall quality than a placebo group.
Alternatively, a mini-study in seniors with insomnia found that drinking 1 cup (240 ml) of tart cherry juice before bedtime boosted sleep time by a whopping 84 minutes. Though promising, these studies are associated with concentrated cherry produce. It’s unclear whether consuming a few fresh cherries before bed is guaranteed to have the same effect.
Cherries are very nutritious and offer a multitude of health benefits. Not only do they contain an array of rich plant compounds that can help reduce inflammation, but they also boast nutrients that may help improve sleep patterns, boost heart health, and speed exercise-related recovery. Both sweet and tart varieties are delicious and can be used in various recipes.