If you ask me, I say cherry season is too short. It only lasts about six weeks. Cherries grow in most temperate latitudes with peak season usually being summer. They are known as a stone fruit along side with peaches, plums and apricots. There are several types of cherries, the two most popular being the wild or sweet-cherry and the tart or sour cherry. Think you know everything about cherries? Think again. This is one interesting fruit. I’ll explain below.
Cherries are a pigment rich fruit. They can be deeply colourful after all. Those pigments come from the polyphenolic flavonoid compound of anthocyanin glycosides, which has powerful antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that the anthocyanin in cherries has been found to act like an anti-inflammatory, so eating cherries might be a natural alternative to taking aspirin or ibuprofen.
Consumption of cherries has a number of other health benefits. They can help reduce the risk of heart disease by scavenging against free radicals. Studies have also shown beneficial health effects against fibromyalgia (painful muscles), sport injuries as well as gout arthritis.
Cherries are one of the few foods with the stable antioxidant melatonin. By increasing levels of melatonin in your blood you are likely to see an improvement in your sleep. This antioxidant can cross the blood-brain barrier quite easily and can produce soothing effects on brain neurons, helping to calm down nervous system ‘irritability’. So cherries can be very helpful in relieving one from headaches and even insomnia.
This little fruit has a fair share of minerals. For example, it’s a mild source of zinc, moderate source of iron, potassium, manganese and a good source of copper. Potassium is one of those heart-healthy minerals that happens to be an important component of cell and body fluids that regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
When purchasing, what you’re looking for are cherries with bright, shiny skin. Unfortunately fresh, ripe cherries don’t have much of a shelf life, so it can be helpful to store them in the fridge.
This fruit powerhouse can be enjoyed in more ways than one! Cherries are great addition when it comes to baking, salads (sweet or savory) and in that breakfast or post workout smoothie. Of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a handful of fresh cherries on a hot summer day!