Cha-cha-cherries!

A couple weeks ago we talked about the health benefits of grapefruits and not only is February National Grapefruit Month, its also National Cherry Month! I couldn't think of a more fitting day other than today, Valentine’s Day, to share a breakdown of this ruby red fruit, the health benefits of cherries, and a special sweet treat recipe!

Cherries are an incredibly nutrient dense fruit high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Many of us don’t associate cherries with high antioxidants, we may think of them as being a topping for an ice-cream sundae. Such as maraschino cherries, which are cherries stored in heavy sugar syrup and dyed with artificial coloring. I’m not referring to these kinds of cherries; I’m talking about all natural, ruby red, juicy, and slightly tart cherries.

5 Facts about Cherries:

  1. May help delay muscle soreness and pain post-exercise! Drinking tart cherry juice (not sugar-sweetened cherry juice) showed less muscle soreness post-exercise and also increased strength gains while drinking tart cherry juice for consecutive weeks.
  2. Contains more variety of antioxidants than blueberries (which are noted as one of the top fruits in antioxidant content). Cherries contain a long list of antioxidants including: 6 kinds of anthocyanins, 6 types of flavanols, 9 types of polyphenols such as melatonin, chlorogenic acid, and gallic acid.
  3. Potent natural anti-inflammatory fruit, which may help reduce inflammation related to cardiovascular disease. A true heart healthy fruit! 
  4. Contains vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, and fiber. Just 1 cup of cherries contains roughly 40% DV of vitamin A and 26% DV of Vitamin C.
  5. Comes in a few delicious varieties including sweet and tart/sour! I prefer the tart cherries because of the slightly sweet but sour taste and enjoy using these in both sweet or savory dishes.

Ways to use:

  • Use frozen cherries in smoothie, sorbets, or ice creams
  • Tart cherry juice as a juice or mixed with sparkling water for an all natural “soda”
  • Dried cherries as a topping for yogurt, oatmeal, porridges, in cookies, breads, savory dishes such as pilaf
  • Fresh cherries as a snack or sliced into a fresh salad for a burst of flavor and sweetness
  • Cooked on the stovetop into a reduction sauce for proteins or other dishes
  • Made into a jam/jelly/spread for toast
  • Fresh cherries dipped into chocolate for a easy dessert

 

What are your favorite ways to eat cherries? Share below! Hope everyone has a sweet Valentine’s Day and great weekend,

With lots of love,

McKel

 

McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN

Nutrition Stripped [nutritionstripped.com]


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