I LOVE summer fruit. I can't eat enough of it right now. The juiciness is so hydrating and revitalizing. There are so many that I love-but cherries, cherries are special. Unlike most other fruits, cherries really are still sold in season (thankfully). What this means is that, we wait for cherry season. The benefits are huge. In-season produce travels less, and has higher levels of antioxidants retained than those that have been picked before ripening and shipping.
When we pick, we pick a lot. Cherries freeze wonderfully, and the health benefits of frozen cherries are not much different than fresh. Just be sure to pit them before freezing. Cherries have such amazing properties for reducing inflammation in the body. They have been linked to many healing benefits. Here are a few:
- reducing flair ups with arthritis
- lowering uric acid and nitric oxide build up, both important for gout flair ups
- contain natural melatonin to aid in restful sleep
- lowers risk of stroke (reduces inflammation)
- reduces muscle pain after a workout (inflammation)
For some great videos on the health benefits of cherries, I suggest you check out this video, discussing how sweet cherries out perform common pain relievers, this video on melatonin levels in cherries & berries, and muscle soreness and recovery time after a workout.
Tart cherries have been proven more effective than sweet cherries, but both help to fight inflammation. We pick sweets for fresh eating and tarts for pies, cobblers, dehydrating, and jam. Once cherries have been dehydrated, their powerful health benefits decrease sharply.
I save all of the juice left over after pitting my cherries for drinking. It's great as a post-workout drink to fight inflammation. Add a shot glass worth to water so you aren't consuming too many juice calories. It's also awesome as a cocktail base ;)
Here are 2 great recipes for using tart cherries in a dessert. Both are oil & gluten free and plant-based. Let me know what you think!
Until next week, happy, healthy eating!
Jessica of www.gardenfreshfoodie.com
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