Cherry is a very popular flavor. From candy to soda to cough syrup, you can find cherry flavoring everywhere. But, how many of us actually eat fresh cherries on a daily basis? Though not as popular as maybe apples or bananas, cherries are delicious and have health benefits that may surprise you. Since February is National Cherry Month, take a moment to look at some of the ways in which cherries can improve your health.
Cherry Nutritional Facts
Cherries are full of nutrients that your body needs. Between the sweet and sour varieties, the sour cherries have more nutrients. Sweet cherries have vitamin C and fiber, but sour cherries are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. Sour cherries have some potassium and manganese as well.
Cherries and Arthritis Pain
Past studies have suggested that cherries help with inflammation-induced pain. In the study, researchers administered anthocyanins (extracted from tart cherries) to rats with inflammation-induced pain. After reviewing the results, the researchers concluded that the tart cherry extract may have “a beneficial role in the treatment of inflammatory pain.” You can find out more about the study here.
Cherries and Insomnia
If you have trouble sleeping at night skip the warm milk and consider drinking tart cherry juice instead. In one particular study, researchers monitored the impact tart cherry juice had on older adults with insomnia. In this brief study, participants were encouraged to drink two 8-ounce servings of cherry juice (one in the morning and one before bed). They found that the tart cherry juice had “modest beneficial effects on sleep” in the older adults.
If you’re a big fan of cherries and want to add more of this delicious fruit to your diet, consider making cherry-based recipes. You can make cherry smoothies, braised chicken with sour cherries, or cherry mocktails. This non-alcoholic cherry cocktail (or mock-tail) is made with cherries, maple syrup, black tea, lemon juice, soda water, and fresh vanilla. Drinking this is a great way to unwind after a long day.
Lastly, don’t forget to try the American classic: cherry pie. This recipe is for mini cherry pies and it calls for cups of fresh tart cherries. It’s the perfect baking recipe for family bonding time.