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Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, the fleshy cherry has been tantalizing the palates of food lovers for centuries. Their rich ruby color and tangy taste made them a favorite among the Romans, Greeks, and Asians. The early settlers brought this wonder fruit in the 1600s to American soil, and today this round the year available fruit is known as ‘America’s Super Fruit’.
Cherry as a fruit caught people’s imagination around mid-1800 when a Presbyterian missionary Peter Dougherty planted cherry trees on Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan. From then on the cherry flourished and is now an important feature in the list of healthy fruits. The nutritional value of cherries are many and they can be consumed in fresh, dried, frozen or in juice form.
What is the Nutritional Value of Cherries?
Studies indicate that as compared to other fruits, cherries are full of infection-fighting antioxidants. Their rich nutritional value makes them an excellent local substitute for many other expensive and exotic berries. Following are a few cherries nutrition facts:
Anthocyanins: A powerful antioxidant, anthocyanins are found abundantly in the cherries. Cherries are the richest source of anthocyanins 1 and 2, that give them their ruby rich color. These beneficial compounds provide the body with a unique combination of antioxidants that are full of anti-inflammatory properties.
Fiber: About ten raw sweet cherries will provide the body with 1.4 grams of fiber, which is nearly 10 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA). A good level of fiber in the body aids in better digestion, by preventing constipation.
Potassium: Cherries are extremely high on dietary potassium. One can get approximately 260 mg of potassium for every cup (100g) of fresh cherries consumed. Adequate potassium reduces the risk of hypertension and stroke while promoting the heart and kidneys to function properly.
Melatonin: Cherries are a rich food source of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin promotes healthy circadian rhythm and sleeps patterns.
Essential Vitamins: One cup of sweet cherry eaten raw without the pits, can provide the body with 18 percent of the RDA, i.e. 10.8 mg of vitamin C. The fruit also contains beta carotene, and other important vitamins: vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. These vitamins are essential for collagen formation of blood vessels, blood, muscles, and bones.
Phytosterols: Phytosterols, also known as plant sterols occur naturally in cherries. 100 gms contain 18.5 mg of sterols that help to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower the risk of cancer and stimulate the immune system.
Boron: 100 gms of raw tart cherries supply the body with approximately 396µg (microgram). Boron increases bone health; formation and recuperation and reduces bone inflammation.
Other Minerals: Although in small quantities cherries also contain folate (iron), calcium, copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. All these minerals play vital roles in boosting the immune system and keeping the body’s fitness levels high.
Cherries Health Benefits
Full of vital antioxidants, mineral and vitamins, there are many health benefits of cherries. Cherries can help fight many infections as well as reduce their chances of occurrence. In a recent medical survey conducted by the University of Michigan, it was reported that a healthy consumption of cherries, lowers cholesterol associated heart diseases, diabetes, and inhibits the growth of certain cancers.
A cherry enriched diet helps to lower total body weight naturally without any side effects, generally related to diets for weight loss. Its hormone anthocyanins help to reduce gout and arthritis-related pain. A diet rich in cherries may not suit people who want to keep a check on their calories, as calories in cherries for 120g amount to 74 calories.
The nutritional value of cherries helps the body to fight many infections and increase the body’s resistance mechanisms. There are many types of cherries; sweet, tangy and tart that can cater to all taste buds. So, what are you waiting for? Load your meal and snack times with the red yummy cherries!