In Season Now. The Cherry Edition.

Cherries are the most awaited fruit of the year and there is nothing better than enjoy our summer time eating this amazing fruit while on holidays or on the balcony or park! Sweet and delicious they are also packed with so many beneficial vitamins and minerals. 

One cup (154 grams) of sweet, raw, pitted cherries has the following nutritional information: 

  • Calories: 97
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Fibre: 3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 18% of the Daily Value
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV
  • Copper: 5% of the DV
  • Manganese: 5% of the DV

All cherries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. 

This high antioxidant content may help combat oxidative stress, a condition that is linked to multiple chronic diseases and premature aging. 

Cherries are especially high in polyphenols, a large group of plant chemicals that help fight cellular damage, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health.  Increasing your intake of cherries is a delicious way to protect your heart.  Many studies show that diets rich in fruits are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.  Just 1 cup (154 grams) of pitted, sweet cherries provides 10% of the daily needs for potassium, a mineral that is essential for keeping your heart healthy.

Cherries are rich in nutrients and compounds that are known to promote heart health, including potassium and polyphenol antioxidants.   Higher intakes of potassium have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke

We need them in our nutrition to maintain a regular heartbeat and it also helps remove excess sodium from your body and regulates your blood pressure. 

It also contain carotenoid pigments like beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well 

Cherries are an athletes best friend when it comes to recovery! 

Research shows that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in cherries may help relieve exercise-induced muscle pain, damage, and inflammation. 

Tart cherries and their juice seem to be more effective than sweet varieties however both may assist athletes.

Tart cherry juice and concentrate have been found to accelerate muscle recovery, decrease exercise-induced muscle pain, and prevent strength loss in elite athletes, such as cyclists and marathon runners. 

Additionally, research shows that cherry and its products may enhance exercise performance.  

A study in 27 endurance runners demonstrated that those who consumed 480 mg of powdered tart cherries daily for 10 days before a half-marathon averaged 13% faster race times and experienced less muscle soreness than a placebo group. 

A study in 20 active women noted that those who drank 2 ounces (60 ml) of tart cherry juice twice daily for 8 days recovered quicker and had less muscle damage and soreness after completing repeated sprint exercises, compared to the placebo group. 

*Though promising, these findings are related to concentrated cherry products, such as juice and powder. It’s unclear how many fresh cherries you would need to eat to produce similar results.

In a study in 1984, 158 people were observed and was found that higher intakes of polyphenols — especially anthocyanins, flavonols, and catechins — were associated with a significantly decreased risk of heart disease over 5 years. 

A very interesting 2-week study in older adults with insomnia found that drinking 1 cup (240 ml) of tart cherry juice before bed increased sleep time by 84 minutes.

How can we add them to our daily diet?

Both sweet and tart varieties go so well with many foods. Plus, related products, such as dried cherries, cherry powder, and cherry juice, can be added to many recipes.

  • Enjoy them raw and fresh anytime of the day!
  • Pair dried cherries with dark chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut flakes, and mixed unsalted nuts for a great energy mix when you go on a hike. 
  • Make a cherry jam out of frozen tart or sweet cherries and add to yogurt, porridge or overnight oats. 
  • Add halved, pitted cherries to a fruit salad.
  •  Dried cherries are a great addition to any baked goods or main meals  
  • Add fresh or cooked cherries to ice cream, pies, cakes and other desserts.
  • Add frozen cherries to your favourite smoothie.

What are maraschino cherries?

Today, the majority of commercial maraschino cherries begin as regular cherries. The cherries are first soaked in a brine solution that typically contains calcium chloride and sulfur dioxide. This bleaches the cherries, removing their natural red pigment and flavor. The cherries are left in the brine solution for four to six weeks. 

After bleaching, they’re soaked in another solution for about one month. This solution contains red food dye, sugar, and oil of bitter almonds or an oil with a similar flavour. The end result are bright red, very sweet cherries. 

One maraschino cherry contains 2 grams of sugar, compared to 1 gram of natural sugars in a regular sweet cherry. 

One ounce (28 grams), or approximately 5 maraschino cherries, packs 5.5 grams of added sugar, which is about 4 1/4 teaspoons. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day for men or 6 per day for women. 

Instead of using maraschino cherries, try regular cherries in your cocktail or as a garnish. Not only is this healthier, but it still adds plenty of colour and flavour to your drink or dessert.

Cherries are a delight to eat raw on their own and added to any dish or salad. They should be incorporated to your recovery meals and smoothies for a quicker recovery time.  Here is an easy and fun smoothie recipe. 

Spinach & Cherry Smoothie

1 chopped banana
1 cup frozen or fresh cherries
1 handful spinach
1 cup plant based milk

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy right away!

Visit Voula at Margarita Fruit and Vegetable Store and she will make sure you have the freshest and best fruits and vegetables!
Πριγκιπος Πετρου 34, Voúla Telephone: 210 899 6649

Katy Taveira, MSc

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