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Amazing Health Benefits of Cherries

Updated on July 4, 2015
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Cherries

Picture of Cherries with article about 5 benefits of cherries that include fighting cancer, helps sleep, eases arthritis pain, keeps you trim & lowers high blood pressure.
Picture of Cherries with article about 5 benefits of cherries that include fighting cancer, helps sleep, eases arthritis pain, keeps you trim & lowers high blood pressure. | Source

Health Benefits of Cherries

This is part of my series of articles on how berries are great for health. One article is about blueberries being the best food for anti-aging or keeping you young longer. Another tells about pomegranates being the best food for the arteries, cardiovascular health and heart.

This article is about how cherries are the best food to reduce pain and inflammation. Huffington Post has an article called Cherries for Health: Better Than Aspirin by Leo Galland, M.D. It says that cherries are a good source of boron, a trace mineral. It says:

The delicious sweet and tart flavor of cherries is matched by remarkable health benefits.

Cherries are important for their ability to control inflammation. A growing body of scientific research indicates that inflammation contributes to diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and obesity.

According to research done at Michigan State University the anthocyanins that make cherries red could also help relieve pain more effectively than aspirin. The study found that anthocyanins were potent antioxidants that could prevent oxidative damage and also inhibited enzymes called cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (Cox 1 and 2), which is similar in the way anti-inflammatory drugs seek to reduce pain. The study appeared in the Journal of Natural Products published by the American Chemical Society.

I remembered the information from this article since it said that it worked better than aspirin for reducing inflammation and pain. Unlike aspirin, it tastes good and it does not kill around 1,000 Americans a year like simple baby aspirin does. The article says that it also good for workout recovery and gout. Also again the article is by a medical doctor.

The more powerful pain killers like Tylenol contain acetaminophen that can destroy the liver if someone takes too much and many people do take too much to stop their pain. No one dies from eating cherries. There are tart cherries and sweet cherries. The tart cherries are also called sour cherries.

WebMD.com says about sweet cherries:


Sweet cherry is used to prevent cancer and diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease). It is also used to treat osteoarthritis and gout.

They also say about sour cherries:

Sour cherry is used for osteoarthritis, muscle pain, exercise-related muscle damage, gout, insomnia, to increase urine production, and to help digestion.

Some studies have shown that the tart cherries have higher amounts of the phytochemicals (plant medicines) that help health. In other words you need to eat more of the sweet cherries to get the same benefits. Usually the fresh cherries sold in stores are the sweet cherries. The tart cherries that are used in things like pies or other baked goods are usually sold as frozen, canned, dried or juiced.

This article was written June 4, 2015. See Health Benefits of Pomegranates for more on how pomegranates or its juice is the best food for reducing plaque in arteries that cause heart attacks and strokes. Also see Health Benefits of Eating Blueberries to see how blueberries are the best food for anti-aging or keeping you younger longer.

Compared to other berries like blueberries, cranberries and bilberries, cherries have a broader range of anthocyanins. This helps to prevent a broader range of inflammation-induced diseases like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and more. When they tested it for 6 specific anthocyanins, they found that apples had one, strawberries had 2, grapes contained 3 but only tart cherries had all 6 of them.

This does not mean that these other fruits are not healthy for you. Organic fruits are always better for you than the ones loaded with pesticides. I have an article called Fruits are the Best Tasting and Healthiest Foods. They tested strawberries, apples and grapes for 9 other polyphenol or other natural compounds that include chlorogenic acid, melatonin, gallic acid, ellagic acid, neochlorogenic acid, 3-coumaroylquincic acid, perillyl alcohol, D-glucaric acid and p-coumaric.

Strawberries had 5 of them, grapes had 7 of them, apples had 6 of them and cherries had all 9 of them. As far as phytochemicals, unlike vitamins and minerals, there are thousands of them. Over 900 of them have been identified and labeled with the effects that they have on the human body.

Botanist, Dr, James Duke worked for the USDA for decades doing this. There is a huge database on the internet telling about what foods contain them and what they do. For example here are webpages of Natural Cures that list some of the diseases and list the number and relative amounts of the phytochemcials in them to see the best foods to eat for different diseases.

There are studies showing that eating cherries can reduce the risk of getting type II diabetes or type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They also show that it can lower the arthritic inflammation. Cherries can also help gout by reducing the amount of uric acid in the body that is a waste product that the body produces, especially when doing exercise.

As people age it is natural for them to lose muscle. This is why it is important to do some resistance exercise as people get older, every week if possible. Studies have shown that the consumption of cherries slows down the loss of muscle. So many diseases are related to inflammation, it is important to consume cherries as a big part of your diet, even if you cannot get the organic cherries.

Also eating cherries provides compounds to the body that increase the activity of the body's antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). It decreases levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) (that is bad for you) and uric acid. It reduces blood glucose and decreases levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. It increases cancer defenses.

When it comes to eating cooked foods, it is easy to add the spice turmeric to it that may be the most powerful anti-inflammatory food. The phytochemical that is known for making the turmeric so powerful is curcumin. Examples of the 2 other most famous phytochemicals are resveratrol in grapes and lycopene in tomatoes and watermelon. See 12 Health Benefits of Turmeric. Don't forget about the mighty cherry when it comes to pain and inflammation.

Health Benefits of Tart Cherries

Health Benefits of Cherry Juice

Comments

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    • Oztinato profile image

      Andrew Petrou 

      3 years ago from Brisbane

      As with dried apricots cherries are often soaked in sulphites to preserve them. This can counteract the health benefits

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      3 years ago from Minnesota

      Great article on the health benefits of cherries. I have always loved cherries and eat them whenever I get a chance. So glad summer is here so I can start eating them again. Great information Chuck-thanks for sharing this.

    • Benny01 profile image

      Ijeoma Peter 

      3 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria

      I will try eating more cherrie, thanks for sharing such an educative information.

    • Lori P. profile image

      Lori Phillips 

      3 years ago from Southern California USA

      I adore cherries. My husband suffers from inflammation so I'll give him some today! Thanks for a helpful hub!

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