There are so many benefits of eating cherries that I could talk about them for weeks. Regularly eating cherries, especially tart cherries, will give you so many amazing health benefits. These little red gems are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and they are anti-inflammatory as well. I was recently inspired to write an article about cherries after my recent trip to Traverse City, Michigan. That place is practically known for their cherries, and they had such a variety of fresh ones to try at the farmer’s market I went to. You can still reap the benefits of eating cherries even if you don’t live in Michigan, by eating whatever variety of cherry is available to you. You won’t be disappointed!
1. Better Sleep
One of the most studied benefits of eating cherries is improved sleep. How does eating tart cherries improve your sleep? Tart cherries are rich in melatonin, the hormone that affects your sleeping patterns. Consuming melatonin before you sleep will help you get to sleep easier, improve your quality of sleep, and help you stay asleep. I personally feel like I have a better night's sleep when I have tart cherries before I go to bed. You can drink a cup of the juice, or take what the bottle says if you have the concentrated kind. I like to snack on the dried variety as well.
2. Reduced Joint Inflammation
If you suffer from joint inflammation of any kind, give tart cherries a try. Eating tart cherries has even been shown to improve conditions like arthritis! Cherries have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, so they make a great addition to the diet of anyone trying to reduce inflammation. You don’t have to consume tart cherries before you go to bed as you would for the sleep benefits. Instead, you can consume them whenever you feel necessary or snack on them throughout the day.
3. Improved Running and Workout Recovery
I’ve already stated that cherries are great for reducing inflammation. My knee joints are often strained after running, and I think tart cherries really help soothe and reduce the pain and inflammation. Cherries are also rich in the electrolyte potassium, which has been shown to reduce the time it takes to recover after a workout (in combination with the anti-inflammatory benefits). To get these workout benefits, consume tart cherries before your workout.
A little-known benefit of eating cherries is that they can actually prevent aging. That is because cherries, especially tart cherries, are rich in antioxidants. Eating whole foods rich in antioxidants has been shown to counteract the free radicals we are exposed to from everyday life. Free radicals often cause wrinkles and other damage to skin, so enjoying tart cherries will be very helpful if you are trying to prevent these. You can consume tart cherries at any time for anti-aging benefits, just make sure you are consistent!
5. Healthy Heart
Studies have shown that eating tart cherries can reduce the risk factors for heart disease. Tart cherries have properties that reduce cholesterol levels, and high levels of cholesterol can lead to heart disease. Regular consumption of tart cherries will help you out if you want a healthy heart! As with the anti-aging benefits, be sure you are consistent to ensure proper results. Get unsweetened cherries for the most benefits without side effects of added and processed sugar.
6. Lowered Blood Pressure
The electrolyte potassium has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure. It just so happens that tart cherries are potassium-rich, and have been proven to reduce blood pressure. This is great news if you have high blood pressure, but you may want to moderate your cherry intake if you have very low blood pressure. You can eat tart cherries any time of day for these benefits, but I enjoy adding them to my morning smoothie for a contrasting addition to sweet fruits. The dried variety makes an easy on-the-go snack when paired with nuts or seeds to make a trail mix (although if you have high blood pressure, you may want to go with unsalted nuts).
7. Weight Loss
Those who regularly consume tart cherries will often find themselves maintaining a healthy weight. Why might that be? Well, eating tart cherries actually prevents metabolic syndrome from happening. That is, when your metabolism slows down due to a variety of factors such as age, muscle loss, and diet changes. Even if you don’t want to lose weight, but are fearful of gaining weight, regular consumption of tart cherries can help prevent that. Of course, there are many factors in weight loss, but tart cherries look very promising to those who are overweight.
Eating cherries has so many benefits, that they make a great addition to almost any diet. They taste amazing too, so you won’t have to suffer through eating something just because it’s good for you. Cherries make great additions to smoothies, pies, juices, and trail mix. What is your favorite use for tart cherries?