We’re kicking off two weeks of sweet, sweet cherry exploration! And just in case you need another reason to be eating cherries this summer, here are nine cherry benefits to get the week started!
1. Cherries have anthocyanins
The bright red color of cherries is due to anthocyanins, which are great antioxidants! Antioxidants fight against potentially damaging free radicals (which are basically molecules with unshared electrons that float around wreaking havoc).
2. They contain anti-inflammatories
Cherries also contain anti-inflammatories, so they’re a good post-workout snack to ease the inflammation and soreness.
3. They’re full of beta-carotene
Cherries contain beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A which helps keep your vision (especially night vision) and skin healthy!
4. Cherries are high in pectin
High pectin in the cherries mean they’re full of soluble fiber. This is the fiber that helps reduce cholesterol.
5. They help you sleep
Cherries can help you sleep! A study had participants drink ¼ cup of tart cherry juice at morning and night. They found that those who drank the juice slept longer.
6. They can help reduce blood pressure
Cherries reduce blood pressure. Cherries contain nitric oxide, which widens your blood vessels, reducing the pressure on them and reducing your blood pressure (= GOOD!)
7. They go well with everything
Cherries go well with everything! I’m sure you’re used to cherry pie, but did you know cherries can also pair with savory things? Here are a few flavor pairs to try out this summer:
- Black pepper
- Chocolate (duh)
- Citrus (especially lime and orange)
8. There are many varieties to choose from
There are SO MANY varieties of cherries to choose from. Here are a few:
- Bing: Being the most popular sweet cherries, these are large, dark red/purple, and ultra-sweet
- Lambert: This second most popular variety is a bit smaller but just as sweet as the bing
- Maraschino: Cherries that have been bleached then soaked in high fructose corn syrup and dyed bright red. When it comes to cherries, it doesn’t get more natural than this (…for legal reasons, this is a joke).
- Rainier: Being more mild in flavor than the Bing, and with a yellow/pink skin, these are usually the ones that are turned into maraschinos.
- Sour cherries: This is a whole class of cherry that is usually grown for the purpose of canning or freezing.
9. They’re in season!
They’re in season from May to August (depending on the type), so reap the cherry benefits and eat up!