The song, “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” sure has it right: this seasonal fruit is just delicious. Turns out, cherries are also super-nutritious, and are classifed as a super-fruit. Compounds in cherries, called anthocyanins, are phytochemicals known as flavonoids. These compounds have been found to:
While these benefits may make you want to jump headfirst into a bowl of sweet cherries (YUM!), hold your maraschinos. When it comes to anti-inflammatory properties not all cherries are created equal. Cherries can be classified into two basic categories: sweet and tart. The sweet cherries, with varieties like Bing and Rainier are typically what you find fresh in the grocery store. While these cherries are certainly healthy (and delish!), in terms of health promotion, their cousin, the tart cherry is far superior. Tart cherries can be found primarily in juice, dried or frozen forms. They are also the main ingredient in cherry pie filling, but I am not going to add that to the ‘healthy’ list—bummer, I know!
Here are three easy ways to include more tart cherries in your diet:
- Snack on dried cherries mixed with nuts for a quick grab and go snack
- Add dried cherries to your oatmeal, yogurt or salads
- Enjoy a delicious cherry juice smoothie:
Tart Cherry Smoothie
1 scoop protein powder of choice (I like hemp protein)
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup tart cherry juice concentrate
a few ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a high powdered blender and puree until smooth.
Listen to Chef Jenny and Dr. Aimée Shunney wax poetic about cherries at http://www.greenteaandhoneyradio.com/oh-cherry-71010/.