Look around and you just might see that cherries are everywhere. That’s because for most regions, cherries are currently at the height of their season, which means there’s no better time to add them to your cart and take them home with you. Beyond being at peak flavor and ripeness, their abundance means you have every opportunity to take full advantage of cherry benefits and their side effects for your health.
The Cherry on Top of Health
Often referred to as “nature’s candy,” cherries might seem just another sweet treat to select from among the produce fruit section. True as that may be, they also provide an amazing amount of cherry benefits and side effect advantages not to be overlooked.
- Recovery: Feeling post-workout pain? Cherries just might be the perfect recovery snack thanks to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. For moments when your looking to boost muscle recovery and reduce sore muscles, studies show it best to snack on tart cherries instead of the more sweet variety.
- Digestion: Cherries pack a fiber-rich punch which can knock out many tummy troubles caused by poor digestion. This stone fruit promotes good gut bacteria and helps to keep your bowels more regular.
- Heart Health: Similar to many fruits, cherries can help to improve and maintain good heart health. Cherries specifically are rich in potassium and polyphenol antioxidants, the latter which can reduce cellular damage and inflammation.
Make Cherries Part of Your Meal Plan
Despite so many cherry benefits and side effects available in these nutrient-rich fruits, they are often thought of as simply just a snack. Sure, cherries are easily portable, making them just the right size to eat on the go, but don’t overlook all the innovative ways you can make cherries part of your regular meals.
- Try Dried Cherries for Breakfast: Whether purchased from natural food stores (where very little, if anything, is added) or dehydrating them right at home, dried cherries explode with flavor in breakfast foods such as oatmeal, scones, granola, and yogurt.
- Half Cherries for Midday Meals: Skip the pits by cutting cherries into halves to shed the stones. Once split, use cherries to top your salad or blend up with other fruit and veggies in smoothies that are easy to eat on the run. More in a sandwich mood? Take a twist on Waldorf Chicken Salad by swapping grapes for cherries before placing between two slices of whole grain bread.
- Serve up Savory Cherries for Supper: Sweet as they may be, cherries also play well with a more savory side. For starters, pair cherries with goat cheese and a baguette for a tasty appetizer. As you move into the main dish, make up a batch of smoky cherry salsa, where cherries become an added red fruit to pair with tomatoes. Simply roast cherries with onion, garlic, jalapenos, Roma tomatoes, and cilantro before blending with salt, pepper and lime juice in a food processor. Serve it atop fajitas or your favorite grilled chicken.
- Bing Beverages: Straight up tart cherry juice is a great post-workout drink, but it’s not the only thirst quenching way to enjoy this fruit. Mix cherry juice with sparkling water for a refreshing end of summer beverage. Skip the spoonful of sugar and sweeten up your iced tea with a splash of cherry juice instead. Looking for a cocktail? Discover how cherries can elevate the sangria you serve.
With so many health benefits and ways to enjoy, be sure to stock up on cherries before the season is over! What’s your favorite cherry eats?
Eurpoean Journal of Sport Sciences
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease