This festive season, you’ll likely be whipping out a bunch of cherries to decorate your pav. But these summer favourites aren’t just good for your Chrissy party, they’re good for your whole body. Here are 4 reasons to pick up some cherries stat.
They fight inflammation
Cherries are loaded with antioxidants, which are the key fighters of inflammation – and they also happen to be responsible for the bulk of this summer fruit’s benefits. These antioxidants are known for preventing oxidative stress in the body – this stuff is linked to premature aging, cancer, heart disease and all manner of chronic diseases. A review found that regular consumption of cherries reduced inflammation in 11 of the 16 studies it looked at. One of the most healthful antioxidants in cherries are the polyphenols – these are known to reduce damage to our cells and DNA, reduce inflammation and boost our whole body’s health. If that’s not convincing enough, it’s worth noting that diets rich in these polyphenols are known to reduce the risk for a number of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even mental health conditions. Plus, the vitamin C in cherries also works as an antioxidant to reduce inflammation and help our gut stay healthy.
They boost heart health
The potassium and polyphenols in cherries are known heart health boosters, as the former essential to maintain heart function, including regulating our heart beats and clearing excess sodium from the body to prevent fluid retention and high blood pressure. It’s for this reason that potassium is believed to reduce the risk for heart disease – in fact, the research shows a pattern of lower rates of heart disease with higher consumption of the nutrient. Cherries contain a whopping 10% of the daily recommended intake for potassium in just one cup, making them an ideal source of this heart-helping nutrient. The polyphenol antioxidants in cherries are also known to prevent heart disease by fighting cell damage and inflammation, both of which contribute to the development of a range of deadly heart diseases.
They help your sleep cycle
Having trouble getting off to sleep at night? It could be what you put on your plate. Instead of loading up on sugary cereals and potato chips, enjoy a cup of cherries as a snack – these nutrient-dense stone fruits are the perfect food to add to your diet to get your sleep schedule back on track. This is because cherries have melatonin – this is the hormone which regulates the sleep-wake cycle – and with a poor diet, irregular work shifts and inadequate sun exposure, many of us are dealing with hormonal imbalances that interfere with sleep quality. A study found those who consumed cherry juice regularly experienced exceptional improvements to their sleep quality and duration, along with higher melatonin levels than those who didn’t drink it. Another study even found that insomnia patients’ symptoms improved after drinking the cherry juice before bed – it found their sleep duration increase by over 80 minutes.
They may ease the symptoms of gout
Gout sufferers, rejoice! Cherries may ease the symptoms of this painful, sometimes debilitating condition. Gout is a form of arthritis, and as we know cherries are bursting with anti-inflammatory properties. Gout is characterised by the following symptoms:
- Sudden pain attacks
- Swelling and redness in the joints
- Big toe joint is often affected
Along with fighting inflammation and oxidative stress that come with gout, cherries also have a specific element known to fight one other cause of the pain associated with gout – uric acid. People with the condition have a build-up of this stuff and it’s the culprit for that swelling and inflammation. Cherries happen to naturally lower our uric acid levels, and research shows that just two serves of cherries can lower uric acid levels within a mere 5 hours. A study found that people who regularly ate cherries had 35% fewer gout attacks that those who skipped out on the cherries.
Looking for some fun foods to decorate with your cherries this Christmas? Check out our Holiday Entertaining Guide for a range of delicious cakes, starters and mains that can all be spruced up with this fresh, classic summer fruit. Check out our new Holiday Entertaining Guide eBook HERE. It’s loaded with 51 fun recipes that transport you back to those childhood family feasts – minus the sugar crash, of course! We've got mains, sides, desserts and festive drinks to mark the occasion.
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