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Cancer Prevention And Other Health Benefits Of Eating Cherries According To Experts

Cherries, which are members of the same fruit family as peaches, plums, apricots, and almonds, are often regarded as a "dessert" fruit for use in pies, or perhaps as a garnish for cocktails (the maraschino cherry).

But cherries have a healthy side too, one that may actually offer therapeutic benefits to your health, as cherries are rich in antioxidants and many other health promoting compounds. There are two primary varieties of cherries you should know about: sweet and tart (also known as sour cherries). Sweet cherries, such as Bing cherries, are best eaten fresh (and raw), while sour cherries develop a fuller flavor when they're used in cooking (which is why they're often used for baking). Tart cherries are also used to make juice concentrates that may offer some unique health benefits.

Some of the most notable health effects of cherries include according health experts are as follows.

Antioxidant Protection. Cherries contain powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins and cyanidin. One study found the antioxidant activity of these substances isolated from tart cherries was superior to that of vitamin E and comparable to commercially available antioxidant products. Sweet cherries also contain a small amount of quercetin, which is among the most potent in terms of antioxidant activity and a wide range of other health-promoting properties.


Cancer-Preventive Compounds. Sweet cherries contain fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins, each of which may help play a role in cancer prevention. According to the National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation: "The potential role of sweet cherries in cancer prevention lies mostly in the anthocyanin content, especially in cyanidin. Sweet cherries are a good source of cyanidins, which appear to act as an antioxidant and in this role may reduce cancer risk.

Support Healthy Sleep. Cherries contain natural melatonin, which is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger that helps "cool down" excess inflammation and associated oxidative stress. It also plays a vital role in sleep and bodily regeneration. Based on daily environmental signals of light and darkness, your pineal gland has evolved to produce and secrete melatonin to help you sleep. Research suggests that consuming tart cherry juice not only help increase your melatonin levels but may also improve time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency.


Arthritis Pain Relief. Cherries contain many anti-inflammatory compounds, and research suggests they may help to relieve pain from inflammatory osteoarthritis. According to one study, women with osteoarthritis who drank tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks had significant reductions in markers of inflammation. They also had a 20 percent reduction in pain. The researchers noted that tart cherries have the "highest anti-inflammatory content of any food."

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