Cherries are seasonal fruits that may support health, sleep, and exercise recovery. They contain a range of vitamins and minerals, and they are low in fat and calories. They are also rich in antioxidant compounds.
This article looks at cherries’ nutritional profile and what the research says about their potential health benefits. It also provides some tips on how to consume them.
Research suggests that consuming cherries may have a number of health benefits, including the following.
They may help with sleep
Cherries contain melatonin, which is an antioxidant hormone that promotes sleep.
A small, placebo-controlled study involving 11 men aged 50 years and above with insomnia suggests that consuming cherry juice for 14 days could improve sleep time and efficiency.
They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Cherries are very rich in phenolic compounds that act as antioxidants, mainly anthocyanins. These active compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that
They may have anticancer effects
However, the existing research primarily relies on animal and laboratory studies, so scientists need to conduct human trials.
They may help with diabetes
Researchers need to conduct more studies to confirm the effects of cherries on diabetes. However, it seems that anthocyanins may slow glucose production from carbohydrates and help balance blood sugar.
A laboratory study indicates that tart cherry extract inhibits the enzymes involved in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The authors suggest that as a dietary supplement, tart cherries may help manage metabolic syndrome, which refers to a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
They may help with gout
Gout is a form of arthritis in which urate crystals form in the joints and cause pain and inflammation. According to a
They support exercise
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cherries can be beneficial for people who exercise.
People can consume fresh, frozen, or dried cherries. They can make a healthy addition to granola, smoothies, and a range of healthy sweet treats.
Cherries complement chocolate flavors well, with a classic recipe being Black Forest gateau. For a healthier twist on this, people can try making Black Forest overnight oats by mixing fresh or frozen cherries with oats, cocoa powder, and milk and leaving the mixture in the refrigerator overnight. The ingredients will solidify slightly by the morning, and the person can add a drizzle of maple syrup to sweeten.
People can also add cherries to savory recipes, salads, fruit pies, and muffins.
In addition, a wide variety of cherry products — including juices, extracts, and powders — are available.
Dried cherries and cherry juice may contain higher amounts of simple or added sugars, so fresh or frozen cherries are often healthier options.
Cherries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial for several health conditions, including diabetes and gout. Additionally, they may help with sleep and support performance in and recovery after exercise.
However, it is important to note that the quantities or concentration of cherries that researchers use in studies may not reflect what the average person may consume.
As part of a healthy diet, people can consume cherries as fresh or frozen and as fruit or juice. Or, they may choose to purchase an extract or supplement in powder or capsule form.