Two main varieties of cherries are available in the market, sweet and sour and not all of them are created equal. Sweet cherries are higher in calories and lower in vitamin C and beta-carotene compared to sour cherries. Regardless, of the type you prefer, the fruit is bursting with goodness.
Cherries are known as a drupe fruit, meaning a fleshy part called the exocarp, surrounds a hard shell or pit and is typically around 2 cm in diameter. The fruit has a very thin, shiny peel that ranges from light red to deep red and purple in colour. Cherries trees have a very short fruiting season in the summer months and grow in most temperate climates.
Velvety Cherry Smoothie
- 1 cup fresh, pitted cherries
- 1 large frozen banana
- 1/2 cup milk
- Honey (optional)
Place the milk and banana into a blender and run for 30 seconds. Add the pitted cherries and blend for one more minute or until the fruit is velvety smooth.
Cherries are a high fiber food, delivering 8 per-cent of the daily recommended allowance in just a single 73 gram serving. The same serving also provides 12 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, no cholesterol, sodium or saturated fat and only 50 calories. They also provide significant amounts of vitamin C, A, B6, and K. They are not lacking in minerals either, delivering small amounts of manganese, copper, iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium. Lastly, cherries are a good source of beta-carotene and phytosterols.
Health Benefits of Cherries
Cherries provide some unique medicinal benefits. They contain compounds that have the capacity to relieve pain better than certain commercial drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin. The antioxidant, anthocyanins also responsible for the colour of the fruit, exhibit anti-inflammatory properties which help to cut down on pain associated with arthritis and gout. Additionally the compound behaves like a brain tonic. It helps to avert dementia and Alzheimer and is associated with enhanced insulin production which is of benefit to people with diabetes. Melatonin, another nutrient in cherries acts like an insomnia drug, allowing you to get to sleep faster.