What is Cherry?
A cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy drupe. The cherry fruits of commerce usually are obtained from a limited number of species such as cultivars of the sweet cherry, Prunus avium.
Health Benefits of Cherry
Protects Against Diabetes: Sweet cherries have a low glycemic index of 22 — lower than apricots (57), grapes (46), peaches (42), blueberries (40) or plums (39). This makes them a better snack than many other fruits, especially for diabetics.
Promotes Better Sleep: Tossing and turning at night? Cherry juice to the rescue! Drink cherry juice 30 minutes after waking and 30 minutes before your evening meal. In a study, participants boosted their melatonin intake by following this routine. Cherries are a good source of melatonin, which helps us regulate our sleep cycles. Cherries have also been found to help with jet lag.
Slows the Aging of Skin: Cherries have the highest antioxidant level of any fruit. Antioxidants help the body fight the free radicals that make us look old. Drinking one glass of tart cherry juice daily slows down the aging process, according to Scientists from the Michigan State University. Cherry juice is also recommended as an alternative treatment for other skin conditions.
Reduces Muscle Pain: A cup and a half of tart cherries or one cup of tart cherry juice can reduce muscle inflammation and soreness studies suggest. A group of marathon runners drank tart cherry juice twice daily for seven days before their race. The group who drank the cherry juice group experienced less muscle pain after the race than those who drank another fruit drink.
Antioxidant Protection: Cherries contain powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins and cyanidin. One study found the antioxidant activity of these substances isolated from tart cherries was superior to that of vitamin E and comparable to commercially available antioxidant products.2
Sweet cherries also contain a small amount of quercetin, which is among the most potent in terms of antioxidant activity and a wide range of other health-promoting properties.3
Cancer-Preventive Compounds:bSweet cherries contain fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins, each of which may help play a role in cancer prevention. According to the National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation:4
“The potential role of sweet cherries in cancer prevention lies mostly in the anthocyanin content, especially in cyanidin. Sweet cherries are a good source of cyanidins, which appear to act as an antioxidant and in this role may reduce cancer risk…
Finally, there is compelling evidence from basic science that cyanidin may also promote cellular differentiation and thus reduce the risk for healthy cells to transform to cancer.”
Reduce Post-Exercise Muscle Pain: Athletes who consumed tart cherry juice prior to long-distance running experienced less pain than those who did not. It’s thought that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherries may have a protective effect to reduce muscle damage and pain during strenuous exercise.
Lower Risk of Stroke: Consuming tart cherries may activate PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activating receptors) in your body’s tissues, which help regulate genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism. This activation may help to lower your risk of heart disease, and research suggests eating cherries may provide similar heart benefits to prescription drugs called PPAR agonists
Support Healthy Sleep (Melatonin): Cherries contain natural melatonin, which is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger that helps “cool down” excess inflammation and associated oxidative stress. It also plays a vital role in sleep and bodily regeneration.
Based on daily environmental signals of light and darkness, your pineal gland has evolved to produce and secrete melatonin to help you sleep. Research suggests that consuming tart cherry juice not only help increase your melatonin levels but may also improve time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency. According to researchers:8
“…consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.”
Arthritis Pain Relief: Cherries contain many anti-inflammatory compounds, and research suggests they may help to relieve pain from inflammatory osteoarthritis.
According to one study, women with osteoarthritis who drank tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks had significant reductions in markers of inflammation. They also had a 20 percent reduction in pain. The researchers noted that tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.
Uses of Cherry
Cherry, when cooked/ baked may get slightly discoloured because of its reaction with baking soda/ baking powder which can be prevented by using buttermilk or sour cream while using it with milk in the preparation.
Cherries can be enjoyed in their raw form by just washing properly and eating as raw fruits.
Cherries are extensively used in cakes and puddings as toppings which enhance the flavour of the baked dish.
Cherries are also used in baked cookies like chocolate and almond cookies.
Cherry is used in a number of mocktails.
It is also used in making fruit cream for fruit salad.