Cherries are chock-full of antioxidants, helping us fight those nasty bastards: free radicals. The flavonoids, anthocyanins, which give cherries their red pigment possess anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic properties. Of the 150 different flavonoids found in plants, anthocyanins appear to have the greatest antioxidant capacity. Cherries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, containing more than sweet cherries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. There is also research supporting the belief that cherry juice helps relieve arthritis symptoms.
For you world travelers out there, cherries are one of the few known food sources of melatonin, a potent antioxidant produced naturally by the body’s pineal gland that helps regulate biorhythm and natural sleep patterns. “Scientists have found melatonin-rich tart cherries (commonly enjoyed as dried, frozen, juice or concentrate) contain more of this powerful antioxidant than what is normally produced by the body. Eating cherries can be a natural way to boost your body’s melatonin levels to hasten sleep and ease jet lag.” According to Russel J. Reiter, PhD (University of Texas Health and Science Center), one of the world’s leading authorities on melatonin, “try eating dried cherries one hour before desired sleep time on the plane. After arrival, consume cherries one hour before desired sleep each night for at least three consecutive evenings.” And since I’m about to board a plane today, I’ll be sure to pack my cherries – even though I’m crossing a time-change of only 2 hours.. 😉
And lastly, but certainly not least, cherries (the anthocyanins) have been shown to lower blood lipids, thus reducing heart disease risk. The latest research presented by University of Michigan researchers shows tart cherries may help reduce inflammation, a key risk factor for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Yummy ways to get your cherries are by Cherry-Almond scones or drinking it in a delicious juice form! Other good recipes would include yummies like Cherry Pie, Cherry-Cranberry Crumble, Cherry-Coconut vegan Ice Cream, Cherry Breakfast muffins…among others. And hopefully I can get another batch of cherries as good as before and do some experimental runs on these recipes for you!!