Health Benefits of Cherries

Health Benefits of Cherries

Deep red and juicy, cherries are not only delicious but loaded with healthy benefits! Grown in twenty countries, cherries are a seasonal fruit from June to the end of August in the United States. In countries like Australia the season spans from November to January.

Cherries originated in Asia Minor between the Black and Caspian seas. Their cultivation began with the Greeks. English colonists brought the fruit to America in 1629.

With over 1,000 types of cherries, they fall into just two categories, sweet and sour. The sour cherries are higher in vitamin C and beta carotene. Familiar selections of all types include maraschino, black, bing and rainier. Unfamiliar names are morello, north star and napoleon.

Tart cherries are known to reduce muscle and back pain. Sweet cherries contain boron which is known to increase bone health. The vitamin C and potassium of the fruit helps control blood pressure. Containing disease-fighting antioxidants, cherries strengthen collagen, helping combat visible effects of aging.

Cherries are related to plums, apricots and peaches with a small pit at its center. Look for cherries that are firm to the touch. The fruit should be shiny and plump. Stems should be fresh for best flavor and texture. The delicate fruit bruises easily. Keep them cool. They do not do well in warm temperatures.

Cherries contain fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids and anthocyanins. The anthocyanins are cancer preventative elements. Cherries have an anti-inflammatory component which aids arthritis, back pain and sport injuries. This red fruit naturally maintains and regulates sleep patterns similar to melatonin. Cherries assist in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetes.

Drink cherry juice. Add fresh or dried cherries to cereal, main course dishes and baked goods. They can be tossed in a salad or on top of yogurt. Mix dried cherries with trail mix. It also can be taken as a supplement.

Considered a "super fruit," equal to or greater than blueberries and strawberries.