Dried Cherries Benefits
Dried Cherries Benefits
Cherries are becoming very well known for their nutritious benefits. These fruits are of 2 main varieties, sweet (Prunus avium) and sour or tart (Prunus cerasus) cherries. Cherries come from the same family of fruits as peaches, plums and apricots. Cherries are stone fruits and they are in season during the summer months and reach their peak in June. However, you can still enjoy these wonderful fruits even when they are not in season as they can be dried. Dried cherries benefits can therefore be taken advantage of all throughout the year.
Dried cherries benefits are the same as the benefits from fresh cherries. The majority of the benefits derived from cherries come from the fact that these fruits are packed full of disease defying antioxidants. Cherries contain anthocyanins, which give them their healthy color, and other phenolic compounds such as quercetin, chlorogenic acid and kaempferol.
Anthocyanins are perhaps the most important phenolic compounds that give the dried cherries benefits. This is because they not only have antioxidant qualities, but they are also anti-inflammatory. Oxidation, which results from the body’s natural processes such respiration, causes byproducts called free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative stress which causes premature aging, slows down metabolic processes and can cause cancer growth.
Free radicals are unpaired electrons in the body. They usually attack cells for an extra electron and this may cause cells to malfunction or die. The damage free radicals do can be very severe, especially if the cells that lose electrons are DNA, RNA or cell membranes, which are all quite susceptible to free radicals. The cell that loses an electron then becomes a free radical and this results in the free radical chain reaction process. Antioxidants fight free radical damage by providing the extra electron free radicals need.
Oxidative stress is also linked to increased inflammation levels in the body. Inflammation is the immune system’s natural response to trauma and infection. However, silent inflammation, which is the type that does not result in pain or swelling is dangerous. It is the kind of inflammation that is responsible for diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Besides being rich in antioxidant activity, dried cherries benefits include vitamin C, beta carotene (which is converted into vitamin A), zinc, iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus which are contained in these fruits. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant of the water soluble kind that is linked to fighting free radical damage caused by cigarette smoking and environmental toxins. The fact that cherries are low in cholesterol, sodium, saturated fats and calories are also a part of dried cherries benefits.
You can obtain dried cherries benefits by eating them as a snack (like you would nuts), or adding them to your cereal, salads or yoghurt. They can also be added to meat dishes, cookies and other baked goods.