5 Incredible Health Benefits of Eating Cherries

This flavourful stone fruit is great for your health and deserves to be a regular part of your diet.

Cherries grown in Canada can be divided into two categories: Sweet (mostly eaten raw) and sour (often baked into crisps and pies)—and both types are packed with impressive nutrients.

Here are some of the amazing health benefits of the delicious summer fruit:

1. Ease aching joints

Cherries’ rich red colour comes from anthocyanins, the antioxidants found in grapes (and red wine) that inhibit enzymes associated with inflammation. So, cherries can help soothe soreness linked to muscle and joint pain.

2. Guard your colon

These mighty fruits contain quercetin, which is a flavonoid with anti-carcinogenic activity. Research in the Journal of Nutrition found quercetin helps prevent damaging lesions thought to be a predictor of tumours from forming in the colon.

3. Control cholesterol

All cherries are high in pectin—a soluble fibre that helps to prevent heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol.

4. Help your eyesight

Sour cherries contain 19 times the amount of beta-carotene found in blueberries. A precursor to vitamin A, it helps maintain eyesight and healthy skin.

5. Improve your sleep

Cherries, part of the stone fruit family that includes apricots, peaches and plums, are one of the few known food sources of melatonin. Refresher: Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and sleep patterns, and therefore can help you catch some Z’s.

Convinced? Try our recipe for a sour cherry smoothie.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada