6 Healing Benefits of Cherries

July 26, 2015 Updated: July 28, 2015
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 By Vanessa WilkersonHealing the Body

One look at a handful of ruby red cherries will offer a clue to their jewel-like essence—a treasure trove of health for the body. They can help improve your sleep, eliminate headaches, reduce premature aging, and dismantle troublesome ailments such as cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, and gout. Check out these many healing benefits of cherries.

1. For Arthritis, Gout, Inflammation, and More

Research supports that eating just 10 cherries a day (1/2 cup) protects against ongoing attacks of arthritis and gout. As noted by researcher Hyon K. Choi, MD, and the Arthritis Foundation, “Cherry intake was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of gout flares over a 48-hour period.” They inferred that this significant improvement continues to work long-term.

A study at the Baylor Research Institute showed that a daily dose of tart cherry extract reduced osteoarthritis by over 20 percent.

The potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of anthocyanins and other flavonoids in cherries are responsible for this effect.

Cherries, particularly tart ones, possess some of the highest levels of anthocyanin of any fruit. There is evidence that cherries also reduce elevated uric acid and C-reactive protein commonly found in inflammatory diseases.

Anyone suffering from degenerative conditions such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, bacterial or viral infections, or candida typically have inflammation in the body and can all therefore benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of cherries.

Inflammation, like fever, is your body’s natural response to stress and its effort to heal itself. Yet, when chronic low-grade inflammation persists, it is believed to be a significant factor in premature aging and the perpetuation of illness.

2. Fight Cancer and Other Degenerative Disease

The high fiber content, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins (particularly cyanidin) found in cherries all assist in the prevention and treatment of cancer. “A study…using human cancer cell lines demonstrated cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of mutated cells exposed to cherry anthocyanin.” Another flavonoid rich in cherries, queritrin, has been noted by researchers to be powerful in fighting cancer cells.

Cherries contain ellagic acid and puerilely alcohol (POH), both of which have been revered by researchers as highly effective compounds in combating cancer. Ellagic acid is credited as possibly the most effective way to prevent cancer due to its anti-carcinogenic & anti-mutagenic properties. POH has been shown to deprive cancer cells of the very proteins they need to grow—it has been tested and proven successful on many different types of cancer.

3. Support Healthy Blood Pressure

Cherry’s high level of potassium can help moderate blood pressure and reduce excess sodium along with its blood pressure raising effects. A cup of cherries is touted to have comparable potassium levels of a banana. Its quercetin content also supports healthy blood vessel integrity.

(HandmadePictures/iStock)
(HandmadePictures/iStock)

4. Reduce Signs of Aging

Important flavonoids, such as isoquercitrin, quercitrin, and vitamin C, abundant in cherries, help reduce oxidative stress, thereby slowing down the aging process. Their anti-oxidation activity is one reason these flavonoids help fight cancer.

5. Increase Recovery From Exercise and Relieve Sore Muscles

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of anthocyanin and flavonoids can reduce exercise-induced free radicals, recovery time, pain, inflammation, and muscle soreness. Therefore, cherries are a smart choice for fitness enthusiasts and especially athletes, who have a high risk for osteoarthritis due to the fact that excessive joint use leads to a breakdown in cartilage, pain, and injury.

6. Improve Sleep

Melatonin, rich in cherries, is highly regarded for its positive effect on sleep quality–which many people desire yet lack.

Nothing beats fresh, so make sure to indulge in this summertime fruit while in season. To gain the benefits of cherries year round, a pure organic cherry juice concentrate is your best bet off-season.

Cherries can be fun to eat being one of the few fruits you can dangle into your mouth to enjoy—yet they’re quick to stain your clothes so don’t have too much fun!!

Vanessa Wilkerson writes for HealingTheBody.ca ca where this article was originally published.