Eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables every day!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Cherries

One cup of sweet cherries has just 90 calories and is a good source of fiber and vitamin C. With these great attributes, it’s no wonder why many nutritionists, dietitians, and other health professionals often refer to cherries as a superfood. 
Cherries and Antioxidants
Cherries and Antioxidants:
Did you know that cherries rank among the top 20 foods with the highest concentration of antioxidants. In fact, the standard one-cup serving of cherries has the capacity to carry 4,873 antioxidants! Antioxidants are substances found in foods that may protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules, known as free radicals. Cherries are especially rich in a phytochemical called anthocyanin. They also contain melatonin, phenols and quercetin.
Cherries and Melatonin
Cherries and Melatonin:
There are many instances in life when your sleep patterns are disrupted. Whether it is expected jet lag or an ongoing sleep disorder, fresh cherries and the melatonin they contain can be an ally for you! Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It plays a key role in regulating the body’s internal clock and helps determine when we fall asleep and when we wake up. Eating a handful of cherries just before bed is a great way to naturally regulate your sleep cycle.


Cherries, Arthritis and Pain Relief
Cherries, Arthritis and Pain Relief:
Great news for arthritis sufferers! A bowl full of cherries may help alleviate pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and gout, the most severe form of arthritis. A gout attack occurs when excessive amounts of uric acid (waste product found in the blood) accumulate in the joints, and cause inflammation and pain.
Back in 2004, researchers from the Agriculture Research Service and University of California-Davis teamed up to study the effects consuming cherries could have on reducing pains caused by gout. They found that participants who ate 45 sweet cherries during breakfast significantly decreased their blood plasma levels while simultaneously increasing the amount of uric acid removed through urine. According to the researchers, these two changes are signs of a healthy immune system fighting inflammation.

Cherries and Heart Health
Cherries and Heart Health:
Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, is the single leading cause of death in America. One of the many health benefits of cherries is that they contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may reduce a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Just like red wine, anthocyanins give cherries their deep red color and also protect cells from damage during an interaction with oxygen. This important process also serves to protect the heart and surrounding tissue, inhibit plaque formation and reduce inflammation.
Balance your blood pressure:
Sweet cherries are loaded with potassium, a natural blood-pressure reducer. Potassium balances fluids in our bodies, essentially offsetting the blood-pressure-raising effects of sodium. So it’s no wonder studies have found that people who eat more potassium-rich foods, like sweet cherries, tend to have less hypertension. One cup of these ruby gems packs roughly the same amount of potassium as a small banana and also boasts some quercetin, an antioxidant that may help keep blood vessels relaxed and supple.

Cherries and Brain Health
Cherries and Brain Health:
Cherries are one of the few foods that contain melatonin. In addition to helping regulate sleep patterns, melatonin is an important antioxidant that helps maintain optimum brain functioning and may deter the onset of age-related chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s. Research also suggests that the anthocyanins found in cherries further protect neural cells and promote brain health.

Combat cancer. Sweet cherries are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, anthocyanins and quercetin, which may work together synergistically to fight cancer. Plus, preliminary studies suggest the anthocyanin cyanidin may prevent genetic mutations that can lead to cancer and keep cancer cells from growing out of control. While tart cherries contain some anthocyanins, sweet cherries pack nearly three times as many (two-thirds are found in the skins). The riper the better: as cherries darken, they produce more antioxidants.

  1. Red Cherries Nutrition Facts
    Amount Per 1 cup, without pits (155 g)
    Calories 77
  2. % Daily Value*
    Total fat 0.5 g0%
    Saturated fat 0.1 g0%
    Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
    Monounsaturated fat 0.1 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg0%
    Sodium 5 mg0%
    Potassium 268 mg7%
    Total Carbohydrate 19 g6%
    Dietary fiber 2.5 g10%
    Sugar 13 g
    Protein 1.6 g3%
    Vitamin A39%Vitamin C25%
    Calcium2%Iron2%
    Vitamin B-65%Vitamin B-120%
    Magnesium3%
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  3. Sources include: USDA

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