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Cherries’ Very Healthy Wealth Of Benefits!

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Cherry’s Health Benefits Simply Pop

We wrote recently about some of the health benefits of cherries, in our “This or That” challenge, pitting them against strawberries:

Strawberries vs Cherries – Which is Healthier?

We said there that we’d do a main feature on cherries sometime soon, so here it is!

Sweet & Sour

Cherries can be divided into sweet vs sour. These are mostly nutritionally similar, though sour ones do have some extra benefits.

Sweet and sour cherries are closely related but botanically different plants; it’s not simply a matter of ripeness (or preparation).

These can mostly be sorted into varieties of Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus, respectively:

Cherry Antioxidants: From Farm to Table

Sour cherry varieties include morello and montmorency, so look out for those names in particular when doing your grocery-shopping.

You may remember that it’s a good rule of thumb that foods that are more “bitter, astringent, or pungent” will tend to have a higher polyphenol content (that’s good):

Enjoy Bitter Foods For Your Heart & Brain

Juiced up

Almost certainly for reasons of budget and convenience, as much as for standardization, most studies into the benefits of cherries have been conducted using concentrated cherry juice as a supplement.

At home, we need not worry so much about standardization, and our budget and convenience are ours to manage. To this end, as a general rule of thumb, whole fruits are pretty much always better than juice:

Which Sugars Are Healthier, And Which Are Just The Same?

Antioxidant & anti-inflammatory!

Cherries are a very good source of antioxidants, and as such they also reduce inflammation, which in turn means ameliorating autoimmune diseases, from common things like arthritis…

Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice to Reduce Inflammation Biomarkers among Women with Inflammatory Osteoarthritis (OA)

…to less common things like gout:

Cherry Consumption and the Risk of Recurrent Gout Attacks

This can also be measured by monitoring uric acid metabolites:

Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women

Anti-diabetic effect

Most of the studies on this have been rat studies, and the human studies have been less “the effect of cherry consumption on diabetes” and more a matter of separate studies adding up to this conclusion in, the manner of “cherries have this substance, this substance has this effect, therefore cherries will have this effect”. You can see an example of this discussed over the course of 15 studies, here:

A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries ← skip to section 2.2.1: “Cherry Intake And Diabetes”

In short, the jury is out on cherry juice, but eating cherries themselves (much like getting plenty of fruit in general) is considered good against diabetes.

Good for healthy sleep

For this one, the juice suffices (actual cherries are still recommended, but the juice gave clear significant positive results):

Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms ← this was specifically in people over the age of 50

Importantly, it’s not that cherries have a sedative effect, but rather they support the body’s ability to produce melatonin adequately when the time comes:

Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality

Post-exercise recovery

Cherries are well-known for boosting post-exercise recovery, though they may actually improve performance during exercise too, if eaten beforehand/

For example, these marathon-runners who averaged 13% compared to placebo control:

Effects of powdered Montmorency tart cherry supplementation on acute endurance exercise performance in aerobically trained individuals

As for its recovery benefits, we wrote about this before:

How To Speed Up Recovery After A Workout (According To Actual Science)

Want to get some?

We recommend your local supermarket (or farmer’s market!), but if for any reason you prefer to take a supplement, here’s an example product on Amazon 🍒


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