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Cherries Do More Than Taste Good

By Paul Rothbart

Small fruits with a pit that grow on trees, cherries are either sweet or tart. Though red is the color most commonly associated with them, there are also yellow cherries. They are very popular and delicious. Cherries can be eaten raw, baked into pies, or juiced. And what's an ice cream sundae without the cherry on top? On a personal note, they are by far my favorite fruit and make my favorite pie. But cherries have more than just their flavor going for them. They are one of the healthiest fruits of all. Here are some of the benefits of cherries.

Nutrition

All types of cherries are loaded with nutrients. A single cup has just 97 calories while still providing 18 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. That cup also has 10 percent of the daily recommendation of potassium. Copper and manganese are two essential minerals in cherries and they also contain fiber. Because of this, cherries benefit the immune system, the skin, and help regulate blood pressure.

Antioxidants

Cherries are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. The antioxidants help to fight oxidative stress, which is linked to chronic disease and premature aging. Cherries are very high in polyphenols, chemicals that reduce inflammation and fight cell damage. A study found that cherries reduced inflammation in 11 out of 16 participants. Cherries contain beta-carotene, which along with the Vitamin C, also helps reduce inflammation. 

Boost Exercise Recovery

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in cherries may relieve muscle pain from exercise, as well as reduce swelling and muscle damage. This can help the body recover faster from a workout. Cherry juice, especially the tart kind, has been shown to accelerate muscle recovery and prevent strength loss in elite athletes. Cherries can also benefit non-athletes. A study of 20 active women found a group who drank cherry juice twice a day for eight days recovered faster and had less muscle pain after doing sprints than the group that didn't drink juice.

Help With Arthritis and Gout

The anti-inflammatories in cherries can reduce the swelling and pain of arthritis. They decrease uric acid in the body. It is the buildup of this compound that causes gout. Research involving 633 participants with gout showed that the people who ate fresh cherries for two days had 35 percent fewer attacks of gout than the ones who did not eat cherries. 

Cherries are a delicious fruit whether sweet or tart. In a juice or pie or just raw, they make a nice addition to any meal. But there is so much more to them. Cherries are packed with nutrients and provide many health benefits. I like getting my cherries in a Manhattan.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Plantation, Fla.

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