Even though there are over 1,000 different types of cherries, they are separated into two classifications: sweet and sour. Typically, sweet cherries are the ones you’ll be snacking on by the pool this summer or found as a garnish for your cocktails; while sour cherries are often used for cooking mouthwatering desserts or manufacturing that classic cherry syrup used in medicine to mask the original flavor. No matter how you choose to enjoy cherries, here are some great health benefits you’ll experience in the process.
Health Benefit #1 – Cherries contain antioxidants.
We’ve all heard this word before, but what does it actually mean? Antioxidants fight the oxidation of other molecules. Even though oxidation is a natural process, too much of it isn’t beneficial. Oxidation creates something called free radicals which are unstable molecules that steal electrons from other molecules. Once that happens, those molecules also become free radicals which starts a chain reaction. In short: it damages cells.
Because of this, the antioxidants in cherries can help in numerous ways. It lowers the risk of some types of cancers (including colon, pharynx, larynx, mouth, and lung cancer), and battles mental diseases related to dementia (like Alzheimer’s). Even if you may not need any of this now, prevention is always better than a cure. Luckily in this case, the prevention is also delicious!
Bonus tip: the antioxidant levels decrease in frozen cherries, and even more so in canned cherries, however the level remains noteworthy.
Health Benefit #2 – Not only do they feed your stomach, but your brain too!
Cherries contain a compound called flavonoids which shield the fruit from both insect and microbe damage, thus better preserving the many health components. Moreover, flavonoids are likely to prevent neurons from dying, and even strengthen their attachment to other neurons.
One specific antioxidant compound they have, anthocyanin, includes anti-inflammatory features. These features are known to be inhibitory for brain deterioration, enhance cognition, and improve memory. Additionally, consuming the nutrients naturally instead of through manufactured medicine, the contents will not have any negative side effects on the body.
Health Benefit #3 – They can help your hangover.
Everyone knows the best way to cure a hangover is to prevent one in the first place. But sometimes you get caught up and wake up the next day regretting your choices anyway – it happens to the best of us. While there is no known hangover “cure,” there are ways to make it a little more tolerable. Enter cherries! Not only will they help you replenish the lost electrolytes, but cherries contain natural fructose which is believed to quicken the metabolism of alcohol in the body. Only time can completely cure a hangover, but with cherries that time may be shortened.