Cherry fruit comes from plants of genus prunus and a fleshy drupe (stone fruit). These are of various types such as bright red sour, dark Hudson, rainier and yellow cherries.
As raw fruit, these provide little nutrient content per 100 g serving (nutrient table). Overall, cherries are enriched with dietary fibers and vitamins. Compared to sweet cherries, raw sour cherries, contain higher content per 100 g of vitamin C (12% Dietary value) and vitamin A (8% DV).
Health benefits of cherries
1. Medicinal significance
This sweet fruit serves as excellent natural source of astringent for skin, diuretic, and tonic. This is why cherry fruit are used in preparation of medicine and as herbal remedies.
Heating cherries form a liquid decoction. This is helpful for the treatment of cystitis, edema, bronchial complaints, looseness of bowels and anemia.
When the cherry tree is cut, a liquid substance or resin is obtained and it serves as natural inhalant for chronic persistent coughing.
The members of prunus avium or cherry plants release prunasin. The plants use this substance during hydrocyanic acid production by breakdown of water molecules. Prunasin has significance of a natural stimulant for respiration, and improving digestion.
2. Excellent antioxidants
Cherries are pigmented fruits. Pigments are polyphenolic flavinoids compounds. These are termed as anthocyanin glycosidases. All of these provide excellent source of antioxidant.
Anti oxidants are quiet a blessing for naturally fresh and glowing skin. These prevent the oxidative damage to skin cells due which occur due to free radicals development during metabolic pathway. So having cherries along with other portion of balanced diet can help to get a fresh and glowing skin.
3. Anti inflammatory substances
Anthocyanins in the cherries act like anti-inflammatory drugs by blocking the actions of enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 and 2. Therefore, consuming cherries may offer potential health effects against chronic painful episodes such as gout arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition) and sports injuries.
Similarly, anti-oxidant compounds in tart cherries can help the human body to fight against cancers, aging and neurological diseases, and pre-diabetes condition.
4. Regulate heart rate and blood pressure
Cherry is a source of zinc; and moderate sources of iron, potassium, and manganese; and good source of copper. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral; an important component of cell and body fluids that regulate heart rate and blood pressure
Anti-inflammatory property of cherries has been found effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors through scavenging action against free radicals. Moreover, cherry juices help reducing the ‘bad’ low density cholesterol in body whose accumulation triggers many heart issues and increase heart attack risks.
5. Lowers the glycemic index of body
A person’s glycemic index increases when she/he has diabetes. Cherries lower the glycemic index and this is why they prevent diabetes and related insulin and blood sugars spikes.
6. Good for sound sleep
Tart cherries are source of melatonin. Melatonin hormone maintains the sleep-wake pattern in healthy individual. Studies show having eight ounce of tart cherry juice in morning as well as 2-3 hours before going to bed helps to get rid of insomnia. Moreover, the sleep duration may be increased by one hour and 24 minutes.
7. Relieve joint pain
The anti inflammatory properties and high nutrient content helps in relieving the joint pain and arthritis. Moreover, fresh cherry helps you to relieve the post workout pain and cramps in athletes and gym
8. Prevent gout risks
Cherry’s fresh juice and raw fruit both lower the risk of gout. Reports suggest that about eight million US population suffers gout. Study show that consuming cherry fruit as part of balanced diet lowers the gout risk about 35% than those who do not consume this on routine basis.
Possible related issues with cherries consumption
1. High fiber content
Cherry fruit is high in fiber content. Each one cup portion of cherries contains about 3 grams of fiber. This amount itself is not harmful. However, its consumption is with high fiver food can be. Using high fiber food up to 20-25 grams as daily diet can result in symptoms of gastrointestinal problems, vomiting, bloating and diarrhea.
2. Nutrient Deficiencies
Eating cherries in excess can cause nutrient deficiencies especially if you eat them to replace the essential nutrients. These are enriched with carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C and potassium. However, they lack sufficient amounts of other vitamins and minerals, dietary protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. This is why eating only cherries to fulfill the nutritional requirements are not a wise choice. The best is to add them to daily balanced diet.
3. Allergic Reactions
Some people may be allergic to cherries that eating cherries may cause unpleasant – even dangerous — side effects. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, person having cherries allergies feels throat closing/choking, heavy and short breath and hives. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating cherries, avoid them in your diet and see your health care provider. If you do have a cherry allergy, you may also have allergies to other fruits.
The dose depends on the type of cherry and the form you are using it. For instance, tart cherry capsules contain about 500mg of cherry extract. About 1-2 ounce of tart cherry juice has positive impacts for reducing joint inflammation. Similarly, 1-2 ounce of fresh cherry juice, twice a day is beneficial for relieving insomnia.
You have multiple options to choose for
Cherry fruit make a sweet little snack. Nothing is better and more refreshing as a bowl of fresh cherries. Adding this fruit to routine meal is not a problem. You can use them as fresh fruit, make smoothies, as fruit salads etc. you can freeze dry cherries, chop them into fine piece and add as topping of cup cakes and salads.
You can choose as you like. All you need to consider is that use in safe and recommended limits. Also, take care if you are allergic to cherry or having some other health issues. Enjoy your summers, with a bowl of cherries or a fresh juice to stay hydrated and refresh.