Nothing says summer like fresh-picked cherries warmed by the sun. The many varieties grown in mainly the US and Australia can be divided into sweet (mostly eaten raw) and sour (often baked into crisps and pies). All are packed with impressive nutrients. Hereâ€™s what they can do for you:
1. Ease aching joints
Cherriesâ€™ rich red colour comes from anthocyaninsâ€”the antioxidants found in grapes (and red wine)â€”that inhibit enzymes associated with inflammation, and may help soothe soreness linked to muscle and joint pain.
2. Guard your colon
These mighty fruits also contain quercetin, which is a flavonoid with anti-carcinogenic activity. New research in the Journal of Nutrition found it helps prevent damaging lesionsâ€”thought to be a predictor of tumoursâ€”from forming in the colon.
3. Control cholesterol
All cherries are high in pectinâ€”a soluble fibre that helps to prevent heart disease by lowering â€œbadâ€ cholesterol.
4. Help your eyesight
Sour cherries contain 19 times the amount of beta-carotene found in blueberries. A precursor to vitamin A, it helps maintain eyesight and healthy skin.
5. Improve your sleep
Cherries, part of the stone fruit family that includes apricots, peaches and plums, are one of the few known food sources of melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that helps to regulate the bodyâ€™s circadian rhythms and our sleep patterns.