They are only available for a short season, but health-promoting cherries should be devoured with gusto when in season. The health benefits of cherries include heart disease and cancer prevention and prevention of gout attacks.
Cherries are a good source of vitamin C and fibre. The bright red colour of cherries is due to their high concentration of anthocyanins. Cherries also have a very low Glycemic Index (GI).
Cherries for Heart Disease Prevention
Anthocyanins can help protect the heart and prevent cardiovascular disease. These powerful antioxidants have been shown to help repair and protect blood vessel walls, thus preventing cholesterol and plaque buildup. In addition, anthocyanins can enhance the effects on vitamin C, which further helps protect blood vessel walls.
In 2007, researchers found that cherry-enriched diets in animals lowered total blood cholesterol levels and reduced triglycerides (fatty acids).
Cherries for Diabetes Management and Prevention
Because of their low GI, cherries are an excellent choice of fruit for blood sugar control. Studies have shown that people who eat lower GI foods have better blood sugar and insulin control, and better management of disordered blood sugar problems, like diabetes.
Cherries Reduce Pain and Inflammation
Research has shown that cherry anthocyanins can help quell inflammation and therefore reduce painful inflammation.
Studies have shown that cherries can also help reduce post exercise muscle pain.
Cherries Help Prevent Gout Attacks
Cherries may offer protection against gout, a painful arthritic condition characterized by high blood uric acid levels that affects the joints, usually the big toe. In addition to cherries anti-inflammatory abilities, cherries have been shown to help reduce blood uric acid levels.