For whatever reason, I've had a massive craving for cherries this summer. It's a wonder my skin hasn't developed a cherry colored blush as a result. Cherries are another fruit (of many in my own person experience) that just don't get enough play. They're sweet, tart and tasty, and pack a really great nutritional punch. For such a small fruit, they really are incredibly beneficial to our bodies.
Densely packed with antioxidents, I was amazed to discover all the health benefits of this fruit. So, I ran out to grab a half pound of cherries, and sat myself down to extoll their virtues! According to medical research cherries are one of the best multi-taskers of the fruit world. They ease the aches and pains of arthritis and gout, as well as reduce risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Because of their high levels of melatonin, they aid in regulating the body's regular sleep patterns, aid with memory loss and ease jet lag! (hmmmmn, I wonder if they could do all this and pick up after my kids?)
But wait, there's more! For those of us on the weight loss track, a diet that incorporates cherries may serve to lower total body weight, and could help to reduce that pesky weight around our mid sections (yeah, that one stopped me in my tracks too!). According to the American Heart Association, cherries reduce inflammation and cholesterol, factors directly linked to heart disease. One to two servings of cherries daily is all it takes to reap their benefits. And if you're looking for a way to incorporate fiber into your day, look no further. Cherries are an excellent source of dietary fiber. How much is a serving?
- 1/2 Cup of dried cherries
- 1 Cup of frozen cherries
- 1 Cup of cherry juice
- 1 oz (or 2 tbsp) cherry concentrate
Before the summer's over, go red and grab some cherries while they're in season. They're not just for pies anymore! Here are some nutritional facts on cherries:
- 1/2 cup Sweet Cherries provides: 46 calories, 0.7 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 9.3 g sugar, 1.5 g fiber
- 1/2 cup Sour Cherries provides: 39 calories, 0.8 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 6.6 g sugar, 1.2 g fiber
- 1/4 cup Dried Cherries provides: 136 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 27 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 30% DV vitamin A.
- 1 Maraschino Cherry, canned, drained provides: 8 calories, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 2 g sugar, 0.2 g fiber
- 1/2 cup Ontario Red Tart Chilled and Pitted Cherries provides: 63 calories, 0.7 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 15.7 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g dietary fiber.