By Christian Dischler
Cherries are the delicious, low-calorie and nutrient dense snack we deserve this year, and every year. Their health benefits more than make up for their diminutive size, and their flavor can be a complex journey through the world of sweet and tart—the two categories this stone fruit is known by.
Sweet cherries, such as Bing or Rainier, are known for their heart-shape and boast a juicy flavor that’s versatile. Perfect for a sweet snack on the go. Tart cherries, like Montmorency, are firm fleshed and tangy, making them great for withstanding higher temperatures when cooked in pies, cobblers and preserves. Whichever cherry you prefer, they’re all loaded with health benefits and help de-toxify your liver and fight life-threatening diseases.
Ensuring a healthy liver is an important focus in the modern age. Environmental toxins have increased, and an influx of processed foods has put an excess amount of stress on our liver–the organ responsible for keeping our blood clean. This results in the build-up of unwanted substances around the liver, and a flood of harmful petrochemicals such as microplastics. According to a peer-reviewed study in BMC, a medical journal, “Cherries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins and antioxidants—and are more effective than vitamin C and four times more potent than vitamin E in antioxidant activity.” These anthocyanins and antioxidants are responsible for keeping our liver clean by helping remove those petrochemicals. They’re also supportive in disease prevention and lowering blood pressure.
“The anthocyanins in cherries have been shown to be associated with the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disease,” the BMC study states. “Tart cherry juice can lower blood pressure and improve some aspects of exercise performance.” Additionally, cherries are linked to healthy hemoglobin levels and specifically help target non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and brain tumors. Women in particular receive help from cherries due to their cleansing effect on the uterus, and reduction of ovarian cysts.
It’s easy to recognize that including this crimson fruit into our diets is beneficial. But of course, everything in moderation is the mantra here. Consuming one hundred cherries in a day won’t make you invincible, so find a healthy balance by using cherries as a snack, in salads, with desserts and in smoothies.
When selecting fresh cherries, it’s best to choose the darkest ones available for optimal nutrients and minerals. This means the tree was rich in minerals when the fruit was ripening. It also ensures that the fruit will have a robust flavor profile. Sweet or tart, fresh or frozen, there is no wrong choice here. But remember, cherries that are preserved in sweet syrups are counter-productive to the health boost they provide. So stick with an all-natural approach and your health will thank you.
“Tart cherry juice can lower blood pressure and improve some aspects of exercise performance.”