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The health benefits of cherries, whether they are sweet or tart, are numerous besides being tasty and nutritious. The health benefits also include vitamins, minerals and compounds that could possibly prevent some diseases. There have been studies that show they are beneficial in fighting some the cancers.

Cherries do contain antioxidants which help in the “clean up” of free radicals. You are probably wondering what free radicals are, well they are unstable molecules that cause damage to cells while other circulating molecules attack cells that are healthy. The damage caused by these free radicals will generally speeds up the aging process.

They do not contain a high amount of vitamin A or vitamin C that is contained in strawberries, but it is the other compounds, antioxidants and vitamins that provide us with the health benefits. Other than vitamins A and C, cherries also have bioflavonoids, anthocyanins, melatonin, ellagic acid, and perillyl. The compounds and nutrients contained in cherries provide other health benefits such as: fighting off cancer; help in the prevention of heart disease; relieve some of the pain from arthritis and headaches, and gout.

Cherries are very low in fat and calories plus have a significant amount of water. Increasing our intake of water will help boost energy and increase our metabolism. Many of us have found that consuming fruits with a high content of water, similar to that of cherries, helps to lose weight. Cherries are also low in sodium and high in potassium; a fact which helps control the retention of water by improving water balance. Diets that are low sodium will generally result in water weight loss.

This wonderful fruit is available in two types, tart and sweet. Tart or sour cherries can be found in cans for baking, in a concentrated juice form, and as a dried fruit snack. Generally speaking, the most popular sweet cherries are the Bing cherries which are sold fresh in farmers markets and super markets while they are in season. Like most other fruits they are fat-free, low in calories and sodium, and high in minerals and vitamins such as potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-complex. They can be eaten cooked, raw, or juiced.

Both types of cherries include antioxidants and pigments called anthocyanins which give off that dark red coloring. One of the top most fruits containing the most amounts of antioxidants is the tart cherry. Dried tart dried cherries and tart cherry juices contain more antioxidants than the blueberry. The anthocyanins contained in tart cherries have high levels of anti-inflammatory traits that provide pain relief similar to that of aspirin or ibuprofen. Tart cherries have been found to have high levels of the antioxidant melatonin. Many people believe that melatonin slows the progression of aging, helps regulate sleep and to fight off jet-lag. By eating Montmorency tart cherries you could broaden the melatonin levels already contained in the body.

The health benefits of fresh or canned cherries, sweet or tart, and by drinking a cherry juice concentrate are many as shown. They may even help diabetics lower their blood sugar levels. They also help lower LDL cholesterol to prevent strokes along with cancer prevention, gout, muscle and arthritis pain and heart disease.

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Source by Barbara Volkov

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