The cherry tree is the sacred plant of Venus, the goddess of love. And we can also say without fear of making a mistake that bringing its red and juicy fruits, cherries, to the table is a gesture of love towards us and our loved ones. In fact, cherries are a precious source of properties for health, also helping to keep body weight under control, if included in a healthy and balanced diet. But let's understand better.
Cherries are a valuable source of antioxidants, such as triterpenes, quercetin and anthocyanins. The latter give the red color and the more the cherries have a dark red color, the more anthocyanins they contain (Średnicka-Tober et al, Antioxidants, 2019). Cherries also provide vitamins, such as vitamins A, B, C, E and K and some carotenoids, in particular beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Not only that, these delicious fruits also contain mineral salts such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium (Ferretti et al, Molecules, 2010).
Cherries, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Cherries, thanks to the substances contained in them, are anticancer, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory, counteracting the levels of chronic inflammation that, in the long term, weaken the immune system and open the way to cellular degeneration, overweight, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and even depression (Corbo et al, Front Immunol, 2019). Given the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action and the ability to lower uric acids, cherries are also useful in case of gout (Collins et al, Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis, 2019). In fact, a 35% reduction in the risk of developing new gout attacks was observed in those who consumed cherries for at least two days (Zhang et al, Arthritis and Rheumatology, 2012). Cherries also protect the health of blood vessels, improving the function of the endothelium which is the lining of blood, lymphatic and heart vessels, and counteracting the formation of blood clots (Van der Werf et al, Cardiovasc Diabetol., 2018). Finally, thanks to the presence of antioxidants, but also tryptophan and melatonin, cherries improve the quality of sleep, cognitive function and the ability to recover after physical exertion (Kelley et al, Nutrients, 2018).
Cherries and the anti-obesity and anti-diabetes action
Not only that, cherries have been shown to help keep body weight under control, counteracting overweight, but also insulin resistance and high lipid levels (Wu et al, Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2014). The anthocyanins of cherries are in fact considered substances capable of modulating the metabolism of adipose tissue and reducing the accumulation of fat in adipocytes, which are cells of adipose tissue (Van der Werf et al, Cardiovasc Diabetol., 2018). From scientific studies, it has emerged that cherries also help in case of type 2 diabetes already present. In fact, a single serving of cherries was found to reduce fasting blood sugar by nearly 20% and increased glucose tolerance by nearly 30%.
Not just fresh cherries
Cherries provide the maximum of their properties when consumed fresh. But you can also find canned cherries, in this case the antioxidants pass from the fruit to the syrup and therefore the antioxidant properties are not lost, as long as you also consume the syrup. However, in this case, the problem is in the high sugar level and it is therefore necessary to consume canned cherries in moderation (Ferretti et al, Molecules, 2010). Canned cherries, thanks to their anti-inflammatory action, have been shown to relieve and prevent arthritis and gout, just like fresh fruit (Kelley et al, Nutrients, 2018). Very interesting, in the absence of the fresh fruit, is also the cherry juice. In fact, even cherry juice contains antioxidants and has been able to protect cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure (Kelley et al, Nutrients, 2018). Not only that, even cherry juice, and not just the fresh fruit, has been shown to protect against gout attacks (Chen et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2019).