Red cherry is a stone fruit from the plants of genus prunnus. It is also referred to as wild cherry. The tree, bearing cherry fruit is known as cherry tree. Cherries were initially grown in Europe, Asia and Africa. Many other regions have also started cultivation of cherries over a period of time. A number of nutrients are present in red cherries. In 100 gm. red fresh cherries 50 calories of energy is present without any fat content or cholesterol. It contains potassium 173 mg (4% Recommended Daily Amount- RDA), carbohydrates 12gm (4%RDA), Dietary fiber 1.6gm. (6%), protein 1 gm (2%). The vitamins present in red cherries are: vitamin A 25% RDA, vitamin C (16% RDA), magnesium 2% RDA, Calcium 1% RDA and iron 1% RDA.
Red cherries are both sweet and sour enjoyable tasty fruits.
Health benefits of cherries
The health benefits derived from the fruits are many. Prominent among them are:
Treatment for gout
The painful arthritic condition affecting the big toe is called gout. Gout makes the big toe stiff and painful due to accumulation of crystals in the joints caused by excess uric acid. Regular consumption of red cherries, the uric acid level and the C – reactive protein levels, which are the causes of gout formation, is reduced.
Cherries contain anti-inflammatory compounds, anthocyanin and bioflavonoids. These two compounds slows down the enzymes called cyclo-oxygenase-1 and 2 and reduces the pain due to arthritis. Inflammation and pain with swelling in people suffering due to osteoarthritis is cured by consumption of red cherry juice twice a day regularly.
Anthocyanin and the bioflavonoids in red cherries are anti-inflammatory and are effective in curing migraine headaches.
Prevents colon cancer
Carotenoids, vitamin C and anthocyanin present in red cherries are effective in preventing and curing colon cancer. Cyanidin present is a powerful anti-oxidant that reduces the risk of cancer to a larger extent. Moreover, the inhibitory properties present in components of cherries reduce the formation of cancer cells by protecting the healthy cells.
Relief from sleeplessness
Consumption of red cherries provide a powerful anti-oxidant called melatonin. Inflammation and oxidative stress are removed by melatonin by scavenging the harmful free radicals from the body. Pineal gland facilitate secretion of melatonin in the body which induces sleep. Melatonin provided by red cherries improves the existing melatonin level in the blood and induce deep sleep.
Reduction of stroke risk
Red cherries have the potential to regulate the genes in the body that are involved in the metabolism of glucose and fat. PPAR (Peroxisome Proliferata Activating Receptors) is activated by anthrocyanins (which are pigments that give the red color to the cherries), thereby regulating the genes involved in the metabolism of fat and glucose. In the process it reduces the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. The cholesterol level is also reduced.
High level of Antioxidants present in red cherries have the potential to fight free radicals produced in the body during metabolism and eliminate them from the body. In addition, elimination of free radicals is important to maintain the overall health of the body as free radicals are harmful. By regularly consuming red cherries, accumulation of free radicals in the body is prevented and the skin is protected from aging. Cherry juice is also used in the treatment of certain other skin disorders. Red cherries provides 17 types of antioxidants, the highest level for any fruit.
Prevents heart diseases
Potassium present in red cherries regulate the blood pressure and reduces hypertension. By this, the functioning of the heart is well regulated. By activating PPAR isoforms, red cherries help reduce cardiovascular diseases. Red cherries also reduces the triglycerides level and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. By preventing formation of C-creative protein, red cherries protect the cardiovascular system.
Red cherries provide anthocyanins which strengthens the muscles and increase the stamina of the body. Higher potassium in red cherries prevents cramps in the muscle and improve muscle strength. To derive the benefit, either cherries or cherry juice is consumed twice a day. Sports persons experience little or no muscle pain due to work out when red cherry juice is consumed regularly, at least for a week.
Diabetes prevents people from consuming fruits as fruits in general provide more sugar. Red cherries have a glycemic index of only 22 (well below the low level prescribed) which is lower than apricots, grapes and plums. Diabetics can hence consume this fruit liberally as they derive all the benefits of cherries and your sugar levels are also under control.
How to consume
You can consume red cherries either fresh and raw. You can also consume the juice and juice concentrate either alone or by diluting with water for exclusive benefits. Some also mix other juices with cherry juice to enjoy different tastes.