by Tracey Pollack
When it comes to good health, the cherry is on top. But not all cherries are created equal. There’s the sweet zing of Bings, the juicy burst of black cherries and the golden glow of Rainiers. But it’s the tangy, tasty, tart cherry that makes it as easy as pie to improve your health. Beneath their sour taste you’ll find some seriously sweet health benefits. Tart cherries can be found in many forms, from fresh and dried to frozen, juices and concentrates. Enjoy their sour pop by tossing dried cherries into salads or oatmeal, baking fresh cherries into muffins and pancakes, blending the concentrate into a smoothie, adding the juice to sparking water or layering the frozen fruit with yogurt for a healthy parfait. Get a taste of why tart cherries hit the sweet spot between healthy and tasty.
Bursting With Antioxidants
The superfood’s superpowers stem from the tart cherry’s high levels of anthocyanins, which are plant compounds that give cherries their deep-red color and their enormous amounts of antioxidants. These antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals that can do damage to your cells and contribute to premature aging and chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and dementia.
Ripe for Muscle Recovery
If your muscles are sore or painful after a workout, work some tart cherries into your diet. Even if you aren’t running a marathon or cycling for hours, everyday activities like gardening, walking and lifting can leave your muscles sore and strained. But research has shown that consuming tart cherry juice or concentrate may help decrease exercise-related muscle damage and soreness, as well as accelerate muscle recovery and improve exercise performance. No matter your fitness routine, fitting tart cherries into your diet before a workout can you bounce back faster and take any ache away.
The Perfect Pick for a Healthy Heart
Another reason to take tart cherries to heart is for many ways they can benefit yours. Studies have shown that tart cherries may improve the health of your heart by decreasing your blood pressure, lowering your cholesterol and reducing inflammation. As a result, tart cherries can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Tart Cherries, Sweet Dreams
If you’re tired of sleepless nights, open your eyes to tart cherries. See, tart cherries are high in melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate your body’s natural sleep patterns. As one of the only plant-based sources of melatonin, there’s evidence that tart cherries may help you fall asleep, increase how long you sleep and improve how well you sleep. Tart cherries also contain tryptophan, which is a strong amino acid that produces melatonin. By reaching for tart cherries, you may finally be able to say goodnight to insomnia.
A Cherry Bomb on Arthritis and Gout
There’s no denying that autoimmune conditions like arthritis and gout, which is a type of arthritis, can be an absolute pain. But tart cherries may offer relief due to their anti-inflammatory abilities. See, it’s inflammation that causes the severe joint pain of arthritis and gout. Tart cherries contain anti-inflammatory compounds that suppress this inflammation to reduce the soreness, stiffness and swelling that result from these joint conditions.
With their wide range of impressive health benefits, tart cherries can make life just like a bowl of cherries.