Cherries for Health Benefits
Cherries for Health Benefits
More and more people are consuming cherries for health benefits. This is of course is a big plus since they are also extremely delicious. In fact, cherries are one of the fruits that are classified as being ‘super fruits’ due to the fact that they are full of healthy nutrients for the human body.
One of the major reasons people are turning to cherries for health benefits is because this small fruit is packed with life saving antioxidants. Antioxidants are very crucial for the health of the individual as they fight free radicals which are responsible for premature aging, high cholesterol levels, certain kinds of disease and so on. Free radicals are a byproduct of the oxidation process, UV radiation and also result from the body’s use of nitrogen, and cannot be avoided.
The antioxidant properties are derived from the fact that cherries contain anthocyanins. These anthocyanins are commonly found in fruits and other plants and are what give them their color. This plant pigment is very important as it is used by the human body to produce essential amino acids (these are the amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own). Amino acids are important because they are protein building blocks. Protein is essential for tissue repair and growth.
The anthocyanins are one of the reasons people eat cherries for health benefits. Not only are they responsible for the antioxidant properties, but these compounds have been proven to be effective natural anti-inflammatories and pain relievers. Anthocyanins are able to act as anti-inflammatory and pain relieving agents because they inhibit the production of Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) enzymes. This enzyme is responsible for the formation of biological compounds such as thromboxane and prostaglandins that are commonly the culprits that cause pain and inflammation. From this compound, people eat cherries for health Benefits such as pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory in gout and arthritis.
A related reason for using cherries for health benefits is the fact that cherries contain melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is best known for the role it plays in regulating sleep cycles and fighting jet lag. It is also an antioxidant and does fight inflammation and pain by inhibiting the COX-2 enzymes. Better still, studies have linked this particular hormone in the slowing of the aging process.
Perhaps one of the most important reasons for eating cherries for health benefits is the possible role cherries play in the prevention and fighting of cancer. Besides containing antioxidant properties, cherries contain 3 specific compounds that have been linked to being effective in cancer prevention. These 3 compounds are queritrin, perillyl alcohol and ellagic acid. Queritrin fights off cancer cells, while perillyl alcohol is effective in fighting cancer by working to deprive cancer cells of the protein they need to thrive. Ellagic acid prevents the growth of cancer cells.
As you see there are many reason to use cherries for health benefits. It is true cherries have a very short growing season but you can still get there health benefits using cherry health products such as cherry extract, cherry concentrate, cherry pills and even cherry vitamins.