Benefits of Cherries to our health. The cherry has many varieties, the most famous of which are the oxen’s cherry, the stone cherry, the Napoleon and the Rupkovo cherry. They have been on the market since the beginning of May and the beginning of August and Kerasounta of Asia Minor is considered a possible place of origin of the cherries by the ancient Greeks. The color of the cherries can vary from yellow to deep red. All varieties of cherries have valuable nutrients.
What do they contain?
Their calorie content varies depending on the variety, with sweet cherries providing more calories compared to sour. The red color of cherries is due to the pigment flavonoids, which are known as anthocyanin glycosides, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-carotene.
Flavonoids, which are mainly concentrated in the peel, have antioxidant properties that protect the body’s cells from oxidative stress. Other phytochemicals they contain are phytosterols, substances that help lower cholesterol.
It is also rich in vitamin A, which is due to the presence of β-carotene. Cherries contain B-complex vitamins (B1, B2, B3), folic acid, and vitamin C and in smaller amounts, there are iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and copper.
The table below lists some nutrients in 100 g. cherry:
- Energy 63 kcal
- Carbohydrates 16 g
- Proteins 1 g
- Total fat 0.2 g
- Fiber 2.1 g
- Folic acid 4 g
- Vitamin A 640 IU
- B-carotene 38 μg
- Lutein-Zeaxanthin 85 μg
See also, 5 signs of lack of vitamins
Their therapeutic value
In addition to being delicious and refreshing, cherries also have many health benefits.
Their anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory action and contribute to diseases such as gout and fibromyalgia. They have also been found to increase insulin production by pancreatic cells. Therefore, eating cherries may help prevent high blood sugar. A study also found a decrease in the concentration of C-reactive protein (which is an inflammatory factor) in the blood of volunteers after consuming a certain amount of cherries.
-Protect us from free radicals
High levels of antioxidants act protectively against harmful free radicals, which play a negative role in the aging process as well as in the development of various diseases, such as cancer.
-Strengthen recovery after exercise
Studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances contained in cherries can help relieve pain, damage, and inflammation caused after exercise. Cherry juice has been found to accelerate muscle recovery, reduce muscle soreness caused by exercise, and prevent loss of strength in athletes such as cyclists and marathon runners. Although most studies investigating the relationship between cherries and exercise include professional athletes, cherry juice can also benefit non-professional athletes.
-Improve cholesterol levels
Cherries are rich in phytosterols, ingredients that in sufficient quantities help reduce total blood cholesterol levels as part of a healthy diet.
-Remove the symptoms of arthritis and gout
Due to the minerals and trace elements they contain, they have a soothing effect on rheumatic pains, arthritis, and gout. Urinary arthritis is a type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid and can lead to swelling, inflammation, and joint pain. So, when cherries are consumed regularly and in large quantities, it is possible to help control the excessive production of uric acid in the blood.
-Improve sleep quality
Eating cherries or cherry juice can improve the quality of sleep due to the melatonin they contain. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body or through certain foods (pineapple, bananas, oranges) and helps control the sleep cycle.
-Contribute to the treatment of caries
Cherry juice is a powerful antibacterial agent against tooth decay, as it suppresses the activity of enzymes that lead to plaque formation, ie the initial symptom of caries.
Tips on how to choose and how to consume
We should choose cherries that are not scratched, deformed or moldy. We should not store them in the refrigerator for a long time, but only buy them if we want to consume them in the next few days.
In the refrigerator, they should be placed in the refrigerator maintenance to keep them fresh. Maintenance retains more moisture than the rest of the refrigerator and will help keep cherries fresh for longer.
Before consuming them, we should wash them with plenty of water. Cherries are eaten mainly as fresh fruit. Of course, there are also canned foods, which are used to make sweets. Chery can be used to make homemade jam. They go well with cakes and pies. They can also be consumed as desserts or as a filling in a cake.
Thank you for your cooperation Mrs. Vicky Jelefa, dietitian-nutritionist, MSc in Clinical Nutrition
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