Alongside their benefits on our health, cherries have a sweet or sour taste depending on their variety – making them a great fruit to count toward one of you five-a-day. Typically, you’ll find that sweet cherries are snacked on, whilst sour cherries are predominantly used in cooking. They are typically in season in the UK around June or July, making them the perfect summer fruit.
However, they also come in a number of other forms, such as dried or frozen, which makes them accessible all year round.
What are the nutritional benefits of cherries?
As we’ve mentioned previously, cherries are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants. But besides this, they’re also a good source of fibre and minerals – such as potassium, calcium, vitamin A and folic acid. If you’re looking for cherries to count towards 1 of your 5-a-day, you’ll be looking to have a portion of around 20 in total, which will also account for 50 of your daily calories.1
Here are some additional ways in which cherries are beneficial on your health…
Can cherries help with sleep?Sour cherries contain high levels of melatonin, which is a hormone made by your body naturally to help regulate sleep cycles. However there is mixed opinions when it comes to their effectiveness on our sleep, but for the most part, the research sways towards it being beneficial. The European Journal of Nutrition found that juice from sour cherries helps you get a longer, higher quality, sleep.2 And if you’re someone who suffers from insomnia, some smaller studies also show signs that cherry juice might also help with this.3
Can cherries reduce blood pressure?If you’re someone who suffers from high blood pressure, the juice from cherries has shown to potentially lower blood pressure due to the high content of polyphenols.4 Polyphenols are a category of plant compounds that are known to have a number of health benefits, including reducing high blood pressure. They’re not just found in cherries, but also dark chocolate, tea and red wine.5
Can cherries help with post-exercise recovery?It’s clear to see that there has been a lot of research when it comes to cherries, and that is also true when it comes to their post-workout benefits. In research done by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, it was found that drinking the juice of sour cherries can help with post-exercise recovery. Within the study, it was determined that drinking cherry juice for 7 days before intense activity, and 7 days following, help minimise any post-workout pain.6
Can cherries reduce inflammation?Fruits rich in antioxidants are known to be good for our health. Antioxidants help protect our cells from any damage that’s caused by daily aggressors, such as free radicals. As mentioned, cherries are packed full of antioxidants, which may have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Research has shown that antioxidants found in cherries could help with conditions such as arthritis. Although there would need to be more research before a further claim is made.7
Whilst there are many studies that show the benefits of cherries on our health, there is still more research to be done to directly relate these benefits to certain health conditions. If you feel as though you’re suffering from anything mentioned above, we always advise seeking advice from your doctor.
Last updated: 25 May 2020https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-011-0263-7 3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133468/ 4 https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/polyphenolrich-juices-reduce-blood-pressure-measures-in-a-randomised-controlled-trial-in-high-normal-and-hypertensive-volunteers/8B268D98D3AC8242545D913730AA556B 5 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/polyphenols 6 https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-cherries 7 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03009740600704155?src=recsys