When you eat cherries, you can enjoy so much more than just their delicious sweet taste. Yes, they’re the perfect quick snack — just rinse and go — but those tiny cherries are loaded with big health benefits too. Here are 7 good reasons to start snacking on this superfood today:
1. They’re a low-sugar sweet tooth fix
Sweet cherries are delicious and sweet, but unlike that double scoop ice cream cone, they have zero added sugar. What’s more, they’re low on the glycemic index (22) compared to other fruits [grapes (46), peaches (42), plums (39)], which means their natural sugars will be released into your bloodstream more slowly, and you won’t feel that spike and crash of high-sugar snacks. All this makes them a go-to for folks with diabetes.
2. They’ll bring you better sleep
If you’re tossing and turning all night long, try drinking cherry juice — or eating about 25 cherries — daily. One study found that people who consumed sweet cherries saw better quality and quantity of sleep within three days, and those who ate tart cherries saw the same results in five days.
3. They reduce the risk of cancer
Cherries contain a good amount of anthocyanins — the pigments that give cherries their deep red color. Anthocyanins also act as antioxidants, fighting free radicals, and offering anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer benefits.
4. They can keep you looking younger
Cherries have the highest level of antioxidants of any fruit. (They have 17 different antioxidant compounds present!) These antioxidants help the body fight the free radicals that can wreck havoc on our skin and make us appear old. Scientists from Michigan State University found that drinking one glass of tart cherry juice daily could slow down the aging process.
5. They help speed exercise recovery
Research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that drinking tart cherry juice for a week before and during a strenuous run could minimize pain afterward. Another study found it could minimize recover time.
6. They help improve memory
Cherries have been found to improve memory and motor function in rats, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Thanks to cherries’ high antioxidant levels, the Alzheimer’s Association even includes cherries on their list of memory boosting foods.
7. They can reduce the chance of painful gout
If you’re one of the 8 million Americans who suffer from this form of arthritis, listen up. Gouts known to be tied to high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream, but eating sweet cherries can help bring those levels down. In one Boston University study, patients who ate three servings of cherries in two days (along with their regular medication) saw a 75 reduction in their likelihood of having an attack.
Also, try this cherry almond smoothie recipe.