It's summer, and that means cherries are in season! Cherries are small in size, but they are packed with powerful nutrients. Not only do they taste amazing, they can also help ease pain, lower cholesterol, fight memory loss and reduce stress. They are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and compounds that help with weight loss and can even prevent heart disease and improve mental functioning. Here are just a few of the many benefits you can get from eating these delicious treats:
Sleep better Cherries contain high levels of melatonin, a natural sleep aid. Low levels of melatonin have been associated with higher cancer rates and heart disease, and artificial home lighting often lowers the amount of melatonin that the body produces. Cherries can help replenish the body with some of that melatonin, and in turn help regulate sleep.
Age gracefully Cherries contain anthocyanins, the natural chemical that gives them their vibrant, deep red color. Anthocyanins produce essential amino acids in the body to protect its cells from the damaging effects of nitrogen, oxygen and UV radiation. Additionally, the melatonin in cherries has been shown to play a role in delaying the effects of aging.
Ease pain Several studies have shown that cherries can help lower levels of pain in arthritis and gout patients. They can also reduce the pain of muscle damage and can lower cholesterol, which is a contributing factor in heart disease and strokes. Furthermore, the anthocyanins in cherries have anti-inflammatory properties which can relieve pain in much the same way as over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen.
Lose weight Cherries are high in water content and low in fat, and eating them regularly can help modify your metabolism to burn fat effectively. One study found that eating a diet enriched with cherries lowered total weight and body fat, especially fat concentrated in the mid-section, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
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Fight cancer Cherries have lots of fiber, which has been shown to reduce the risk of rectal and colon cancer. They also contain queritrin, an anticancer agent, and ellagic acid, which is a prominent compound for cancer prevention. Finally, the perillyl alcohol in cherries can deprive cancerous cells of the proteins they require in order to grow, effectively reducing the occurrence of all types of cancer.