An Amazing Home-Grown Superfruit: Cherries

An Amazing Home-Grown Superfruit: Cherries

The word Superfood naturally makes us think we have to travel miles and miles outside of our homeland to source a rare species of some particular plant that's good for our heath - but that's totally not the case! We're fortunate enough to grow some amazing superfruits right here in our own backyard.

Let’s focus on the amazing health properties of the beloved CHERRY! The U.S. produces about 13% of the world’s total cherry supply, with more than 75% of the US tart cherry crop grown right in the state of Michigan. Studies report that the anthocyanin content of tart or sour cherries (Prunus cerasus) is 27-200% higher than in “wild” sweet cherries (Prunus avium). The focus of most research has been on the tart variety, so that's the kind we'll refer to.

Tart cherries

  • Support healthy inflammatory responses
  • May help reduced headaches
  • Slows lipid peroxidation
  • Increases antioxidant capacity in the blood
  • May also improve recovery following strenuous exercise

Cherries and Gout

Boston University Medical Center published a research paper in Arthritis and Rheumatism finding that the intake of cherries before an attack of gout reduced the likelihood of experiencing an acute attack by one third compared with the intake of unrelated foods.

Gout flare-ups result from an accumulation of uric acid in the blood and crystalized deposits in joints, tendons and surrounding tissue.

Cherry extract has been shown to block the reabsorption of urate and increases urate excretion in the urine. Cherry juice may also block xanthine oxidase and reduce the production of uric acid, thus reducing the occurrence of gout discomfort.

While these mechanisms contribute to lower levels of uric acid and inflammation, also consider the fructose content of tart cherries and the knowledge that consuming high amounts of fructose-rich beverages is associated with higher risk of gout.

A few cherries (with the pit removed!) might just be what the doctor ordered!

Cherries and Post Workout Recovery

Tart cherry juice has been shown to help prevent or reduce the symptoms of oxidative muscle damage. In studies involving marathon runners and other well-trained athletes, supplementation with tart cherries helped them recover significantly faster than those who did not drink the tart cherry juice. The recovery of muscle function appears to be attributed to reduced markers of inflammation, including IL-6, C-reactive protein, and uric acid.

Try this recipe for post workout recovery!

Sleep

Cherries contain melatonin, the sleep-inducing chemical that helps regulate our circadian rhythms. However, it's not clear whether it's the melatonin or the antioxidant capacity and reduction in oxidative stress that gives cherries their zzz-inducing effects!

Good for Skin Radiance

The red pigment, anthocyanin, acts as an antioxidant. This flavonoid combined with vitamin C helps strengthen collagen, the main protein component of our connective tissue, skin, tendons, cartilage, bone and muscle. It’s a part of the very core of our body’s framework.

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Triathlon Coach


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