Not many know that their favourite red cherries are also a sort-of pain relieving food.
Recent studies have revealed that besides offering an assortment of health benefits,cherries have the ability to offer natural relief from joint pains caused by gout,arthritis or joint inflammation. It is also believed that cherries help to reduce excess uric acid in the blood.
The fruits richness in phenolic compounds,including high concentrations of anthocyanins,is believed to have pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2010 reported that drinking tart cherry juice for
7 days prior to and during a strenuous running event could minimise post-run muscle pain.
Their attractive red colour is due to phytochemicals such as anthocyanins which are antioxidants. Antioxidants are natural bioactive compounds that protect against premature ageing,Alzheimers,heart disease and cancer. Cherries also contain other antioxidants such as beta-sitosterol,quercetin and ellagic acid which protect against several cancers and low blood cholesterol.
Another interesting constituent of cherries,especially tart cherries,is melatonin,a hormone produced by the pineal gland,which helps to promote healthy sleep patterns and reducing jet lag.
Nutritionally,they are low in calories,while they provide loads of iron. Just 100 g of the fruit provides a whopping 8.5 mg,about one fourth of an adults daily requirements. It also contains vitamin C,which helps to prevents anemia.
Cherries have long been valued by naturopaths for their cleansing properties perhaps owing to its low sodium and high potassium content. They are also a rich source of calcium,magnesium and phosphorus all of which help to prevent osteoporosis. They have a low glycemic index (22),generally lower than most fruits. This makes sweet cherries a potentially better fruit-based snack for weight watchers and diabetics.
Incidentally,the glace red cherries on plum and fruit cakes in India are not the real things,but their look alike coloured artificially.