Seasonal spotlight: 3 Health Benefits of Cherries
Research suggests that cherries contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may benefit those with arthritis and gout, and improve quality of sleep.
What are the health benefits of cherries?
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body, which can lead to crystals forming inside joints that causes extreme swelling, inflammation and pain, particularly in the feet. Cherries can decrease uric acid levels in the body due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can potentially reduce occurance of painful gout flare-ups.
One study in 633 people with gout demonstrated that those who ate fresh cherries over 2 days had 35% fewer gout attacks than those who did not eat cherries (1). Another study noted that 100% tart cherry juice significantly reduced the level of uric acid levels in participants who drank cherry juice every day for four weeks (2).
For this reason, the Arthritis Foundation suggests eating a handful of cherries or drinking a glass of tart cherry juice per day.
2. Rich in antioxidants
Cherries are also rich in polyphenol antioxidants, including anthocyanins, flavonols, and catechins, that may help reduce oxidative stress, which is linked to premature ageing and multiple chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and mental decline. Anthocyanins are what gives cherries their dark colour.
3. A source of melatonin
Cherries contain melatonin, a substance that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. A study showed that those who drank pure tart cherry juice for 7 days experienced significant increases in melatonin levels, sleep duration and sleep quality, compared to a placebo (3)
How to get more cherries into your diet:
• Drink 100% pure tart cherry juice or dilute in water as a cordial
• Buy bags of frozen forest fruits and add to porridge or muesli
• Make a cherry compote from frozen cherries and add to yoghurt or chia pudding
• Add frozen cherries to sweeten smoothies
• Chop fresh cherries into a fruit salad
• Enjoy them fresh as a snack while they're in season
While cherry juice may help improve your gout symptoms, it is not a replacement for prescribed medication. Talk to your doctor regarding treatment options for gout.
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