4 ways Cherries keep you healthy

Cherries boast not only great taste but also potential health benefits. With falconoid, fiber, potassium, and traces of vitamins A and C, cherries have plenty of lookouts to guard your health. They’re known to fight inflammation and, possibly, cancer.


* SOOTHES ARTHRITIS AND GOUT - Life might not always be a bowl of cherries - but if it were, it might not be quite as painful.

That’s because cherries can relieve pain. Long used as a folk remedy for gout, cherries now carry the clout of scientific evidence.

A recent study by researchers at Michigan State University found that anthocyanins, the same compounds that give cherries their red color, and help squash inflammation and pain. Prostaglandins are the bad guys that aggravate conditions like headaches, arthritis, and gout.

Eating cherries every day may help relieve those conditions, says Dr. Muralee Nair, one of the MSU researchers. “If you have pain from chronic arthritis, and aspirin bothers your stomach, eating a bowl of cherries may reduce that pain,” he says.

In fact, laboratory tests showed that 20 tart cherries were at least as effective as other pain-killing remedies, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and other no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In some cases, they were much better. “Cherry compounds are about 10 times more effective than aspirin,” Nair affirms.

* SIDESTEPS CANCER - Research is still in progress, but cherries look promising as a protector against cancer.

Cherries contain a mighty anti-cancer chemical called perillyl alcohol that has been shown to inhibit tumors in rodents. They’re also overflowing with antioxidants, which mop up the free radicals that can cause cell damage and cancer. Cherry’s antioxidants include its anthocyanins as well as quartering, a powerful falconoid also found in apples and onions.

* PROTECTS YOUR HEART - Antioxidants are like guests at a party - the more the merrier. If such is the case, cherries are having one wild affair.

Cherries boast 17 compounds that combine for more antioxidant activity than vitamin C or E supplements. Located in the anthocyanins that give cherries their red color, these antioxidants may protect against atherosclerosis and heart disease by preventing the buildup of plaque in your arteries.

Like many fruits, cherries also provide fiber and potassium, both good soldiers in the war against heart disease. Fiber has been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Potassium fights heart disease by controlling your blood pressure so your heart doesn’t have to work overtime. It also shields you from stroke.

* PUTS INSOMNIA TO BED - Have trouble sleeping? Cherries might be your key to dreamland. Dr. Russel Reiter of the University of Texas Health Science Center recently discovered that cherries contain large amounts of melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep.

“Certainly, cherries to this point have the highest concentration of melatonin we’ve measured in any fruit,” Reiter says.

Melatonin works either as a direct sleep-inducing substance or by opening what Reiter calls “the sleep gate,” which puts you in the right frame of mind to sleep. Eating cherries just before bedtime would give you the most benefit.

Because it’s an antioxidant, melatonin can also neutralize free radicals that contribute to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and signs of again, like crow’s feet around your eyes.


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