7 Impressive Health Benefits of Cherries

7 Impressive Health Benefits of Cherries

Cherries are one of the most beloved fruits, and for good reason.

They’re not only delicious but also pack vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds with powerful health effects.

Here are 7 impressive health benefits of cherries.

Cherries are small stone fruits that come in a variety of colors and flavors. There are two major categories — tart and sweet cherries, or Prunus cerasus L. and Prunus avium L., respectively.

Their colors can vary from yellow to deep blackish-red.

All varieties are highly nutritious and packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

One cup (154 grams) of sweet, raw, pitted cherries provides ( 1 ):

  • Calories: 97
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 18% of the
    Daily Value (DV)
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV
  • Copper: 5% of the DV
  • Manganese: 5% of the DV

These nutrients, particularly fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, benefit health in many ways.

Vitamin C is essential for maintaining your immune system and skin health while potassium is needed for muscle contraction, nerve function, blood pressure regulation, and many other critical bodily processes ( 2 , 3 ).

Cherries are also a good source of fiber, which helps keep your digestive system healthy by fueling beneficial gut bacteria and promoting bowel regularity ( 4 ).

Plus, they provide B vitamins, manganese, copper, magnesium, and vitamin K.

Summary Cherries are a good
source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and other nutrients that your body needs
to function optimally.

The high concentration of plant compounds in cherries may be responsible for this fruit’s many health benefits.

Though the amount and type can vary depending on the variety, all cherries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

This high antioxidant content may help combat oxidative stress, a condition that is linked to multiple chronic diseases and premature aging ( 5 ).

In fact, one review found that eating cherries effectively reduced inflammation in 11 out of 16 studies and markers of oxidative stress in 8 out of 10 studies ( 6 ).

Cherries are especially high in polyphenols, a large group of plant chemicals that help fight cellular damage, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health ( 6 , 7 ).

In fact, polyphenol-rich diets may protect against many chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, mental decline, and certain cancers ( 8 ).

These stone fruits also contain carotenoid pigments like beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well ( 6 ).

Summary All cherries are high in
antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which may reduce chronic disease
risk and promote overall health.

Research shows that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in cherries may help relieve exercise-induced muscle pain, damage, and inflammation ( 6 , 9 ).

Tart cherries and their juice seem to be more effective than sweet varieties, though both may aid athletes.

Tart cherry juice and concentrate have been found to accelerate muscle recovery, decrease exercise-induced muscle pain, and prevent strength loss in elite athletes, such as cyclists and marathon runners ( 6 ).

Additionally, some evidence suggests that cherry products may enhance exercise performance.

A study in 27 endurance runners demonstrated that those who consumed 480 mg of powdered tart cherries daily for 10 days before a half-marathon averaged 13% faster race times and experienced less muscle soreness than a placebo group ( 10 ).

Though most studies exploring the links between cherries and exercise involve trained athletes, tart cherry juice may benefit non-athletes as well.

A study in 20 active women noted that those who drank 2 ounces (60 ml) of tart cherry juice twice daily for 8 days recovered quicker and had less muscle damage and soreness after completing repeated sprint exercises, compared to the placebo group ( 11 ).

Though promising, these findings are related to concentrated cherry products, such as juice and powder. It’s unclear how many fresh cherries you would need to eat to produce similar results.

Summary Consuming cherries,
especially tart cherry products like juice and powder, may improve athletic
performance and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and soreness.

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