Cherries are a deliciously tart fruit that may have many life-changing health benefits. Tart cherries have widely been used to fight inflammation and reduce arthritis pain.
The nutritional value of cherries is impressive. Sour cherries contain dietary fibre, copper, and manganese. They’re also a very good source of vitamin A, and vitamin C. Sweet cherries are similar but have a few main differences. The most obvious difference is the sugar and fibre levels. Sweet cherries are higher in both of these nutrients. While it’s great to get the extra fibre, you get approximately four extra grams of sugar per 100g serving. That’s a lot. Another benefit to sour cherries is that they are a great source of vitamin A, while sweet cherries have very little of this important vitamin.
Cherries deep red colour comes from anthocyanins. This pigmentation is also one of the most powerful antioxidants you’ll find. They have been tied to lowering blood glucose levels. The benefits of this antioxidant don’t stop there. It has also been shown to work as an “anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, and antiobese” chemical compound.3
Studies have found cherries to have a high impact on obesity-prone rats. The anthocyanins boosted metabolism, and lowered inflammation. The rats with tart cherries in their diets had a lower fat mass, abdominal fat, lipid levels in the blood, and a lower risk of developing tumors. These are truly impressive findings.
Anthocyanins are found in both sour and sweet cherries so you’re going to benefit from this powerful antioxidant either way, but it’s important to look at how to get the most out of the food we’re eating. Because of the addition of vitamin A, plus the lower levels of sugar that we talked about above, going for a sour or tart cherry is going to be the healthier of the two options.
Tart cherries and cherries juice is often used and sold as an arthritis remedy. Cyanidins, a type of anthocyanin, could be the reason for this pain relief. A study conducted on rats found that this antioxidant prevented inflammation in joints. Overall, having a highly anti-inflammatory food in your diet is going to be beneficial for relieving joint pain and arthritis.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cherries have made this a popular fruit among athletes. Cherries can speed up recovery time post workout. Exercise and physical exertion can push the body and can result in inflamed joints and muscles. By supplementing your diet with cherries, you may see shorter recovery times, and better overall results from your workouts.
A very promising study had participants eat 280g of sweet cherries for 28 days. Not only were the markers of inflammation significantly lowered during this period, but inflammation continued to decrease for an additional 28 days after participants stopped eating cherries. While this is significantly more of this fruit than you’d eat on a regular basis, it does a good job of demonstrating the last health benefits from this fruit.