Get them while they are fresh (and cheap!). These little jewels come packed with health benefits. It is unfortunate that they are truly only affordable during a short window of the year, from late June to early August. Purchase them off season and they can set you back upwards of $6.00 per pound! Right now, they are juicy, sweet, and perfect for eating fresh, freezing, and baking!
That deep red color and rich flavor transport nutrients of all kind. Cherries have been shown to lower blood pressure with their prosperous stores of potassium. Potassium acts a natural blood pressure reducer by contributing to our fluid balance and flushing out the excess sodium that cranks that pressure up. About a cup of these babies is equivalent to the potassium in one banana. Cherries also contain a powerful antioxidant called, quercetin. Studies have found that foods high in this compound have a natural blood pressure-lowering effect. It is important to note that maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is imperative-as high blood pressure can lead to stroke, kidney failure, and heart attack. While on the topic of heart health, cherries are thought to reduce overall risk factors for heart disease including inflammation and cholesterol.
Given their powerful antioxidant composition, cherries fight cancer before it starts. Listed as a “food to fight cancer” by the American Institute of Cancer Research, this fruit is not messing around! Anthocyanins, quercetin, and vitamins A and C work together to ward off free radicals hanging around where they shouldn’t be. Those free radicals could otherwise be running amuck in our systems causing damage to our cells and encouraging cancer growth. The deeper the color, the more antioxidants are present. So make sure you allow them to fully ripen before indulging.
These very same nutrients, along with other phytochemicals are said to reduce symptoms of arthritis, thanks to their anti-inflammatory effect. This includes decreasing uric acid in the blood and staving off gout flare-ups. Even headaches may be reduced by the power of cherries. Anthocyanins found in cherries, may increase memory and prolong youthful brain function.
If these millions of reasons that I have given above are still not enough for you to hop on the cherry bandwagon, then here is one more: cherries contain melatonin. Not only is this a powerful antioxidant, it contributes to our circadian rhythm by having great effects on sleep. Many purchase melatonin in tablet form as a natural sleep aid. I’m encouraging you to now skip the tablets and stretch that dollar a little further by counting on the cherry. You can rest assured, knowing you are doing the right thing for your body and mind!