Herb of the Month: Cherry
Author: Jillian Foster Date Posted:1 December 2019
The sweet, round, red stone fruit certainly tickles our taste buds, but did you know it has a variety of health benefits too? Bursting with vitamins and antioxidants, these delicious little morsels can reduce inflammation, improve sleep, prevent gout, improve memory and support a healthy cardiovascular system.
The two most common cherries are the sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) and the tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.). Tart cherries have a lower level of sugar than sweet cherries and are also more acidic. All types of cherry are high in vitamin C and contain small amounts of fibre, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium.
The sweet cherry originated in Asia Minor, an area between the Black and Caspian Seas. It is believed the Greeks were the first to cultivate the cherry fruit. The Roman Legionnaires likely spread the fruit throughout Western Europe as the cherry was essential to their diet.
Cherries are exceptionally high in antioxidants, just like other bright red fruits and vegetables. The dark red colour of the fruit comes from a high content of anthocyanins which are antioxidants. The addition of polyphenols, melatonin, carotenoids, vitamin E and vitamin C make this one of the top antioxidant foods. For this reason, cherries have been shown to reduce oxidative stress which can benefit many areas of the body but especially the cardiovascular system.
The antioxidant properties of cherries also play a role in reducing inflammation in the body. Consumption of cherries or cherry products can reduce many inflammatory markers in the body as well as inhibiting inflammatory messengers.
Gout & Mild Arthritis
Cherries' bountiful antioxidants have been associated with reduced levels of nitric oxide, a compound associated with mild arthritis and gout. Cherry juice has also been shown to reduce uric acid levels in the body; hence its ability to reduce the occurrence of gout attacks. The anti-inflammatory properties further mitigate symptoms of mild arthritis.
Cherries contain a high level of melatonin, a hormone that helps prepare your body for sleep and regulates your internal body clock. Checkout our Cherry Better Sleep Smoothie below for a delicious sleep inducing night-time drink.
Post Exercise Muscle Damage
Exercise-induced muscle pain, soreness and loss of strength have been significantly reduced with the use of cherries. This is likely due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the anthocyanins and phenolic compounds.
Cherry Better Sleep Smoothie
¼ cup tart cherry juice
1 kiwi fruit
2 tbspn raw honey
1 cup milk of your choice (almond would be great)
Handful of ice (optional)
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Drink in the evening to help you drift off to sleep and improve your sleep quality!
|Written by Jillian Foster|
Jillian (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath who believes through a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle, we have the power to influence our health and the health of future generations. With a passion for herbal medicine, Jillian loves helping people find the right solution for their health needs and educating people on how they can lead a healthy and happy life.
Jillian enjoys keeping active with her two young children and baking them delicious and healthy treats.