Cherries Health Facts
Cherries Health Facts
Cherries are part of a family of fruits, rosaceae, that include peaches, plums and apricots. The cherry health facts that have come to light over the last few years have firmly put this small, delicious fruit in the limelight.
There are two main types of cherries; sweet and sour (tart cherries). Both are said to contain a great deal of nutrients that are beneficial for health. However, cherry health facts state that the sour cherry is more nutritious than the sweet cherry.
Cherry health facts show that the cherry, which can be eaten fresh, dried, included in recipes or in extract form, is packed full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are very crucial as they help the body fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress arises when there are too many free radicals, which result from the natural body process of oxidation, and the body cannot fight them off. Antioxidants provide a free molecule which binds itself to these free radicals thereby destroying them.
Cherry health facts rank these fruits as having the highest antioxidant concentrations when compared to others. The antioxidants in cherries are mainly derived from phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which give the cherries their red color. Antioxidant properties are also derived from quercetin and melatonin.
Simply because of their high levels of antioxidant concentrations, cherry health facts claim that this fruit can play an important role in prevention and curing of a myriad of diseases which include cancer, diabetes and hypertension. Cherries have also been linked in reducing inflammation in conditions such as fibromyalgia, gout and arthritis.
Cherries also contain significant levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Calcium, ellagic acid (an organic acid), perillyl and bioflavonoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein. Cherries are low in calories, low in saturated fat, have no sodium or cholesterol. They are also a good source of fiber which is essential for a healthy digestive system.
Cherries are also a good source of essential minerals such as potassium (which plays an important role in heart health), managanese, iron, zinc and copper.
Cherry health facts particularly single out the Acerola cherry, one of the cherry cultivars as being particularly high in antioxidant activity due to its very high levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. The Acerola cherry, also known as the West Indian cherry, is a tart cherry.
There is some resistance from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regarding the health benefits of the cherry fruit. However, the cherry health facts speak for themselves. There can be no harm in adding this fruit to your diet. They can be eaten fresh when they are in season during the summer months. Sweet cherries are more commonly eaten this way while tart cherries are more commonly used in recipes for jams, tarts, sodas, pies and other desserts.