No one can resist the sweet tartness of a cherry. It turns out there is much more the cherry can offer our bodies in terms of health benefits, other than just being scrumptious to the taste buds. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycle.
We naturally produce melatonin, but supplementing melatonin through food can help to induce a natural sleep state for those who have trouble switching off at night or experience insomnia. Eat your cherries one hour before bedtime to help you nod off easier.
Cherries are rich in polyphenols, for which evidence is emerging regarding their efficacy in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer. Their vitamin K promotes heart and circulatory system health as it regulates coagulation and prevents blood clots from forming.
Anthocyanins are the antioxidant pigments found in cherries that help to protect blood vessels from oxidative stress–eating cherries regularly could help prevent the formation of arterial plaque and cancer.
1. Cherry Balsamic Summer Parfait
This summertime parfait is easy to make and can help improve brain health. The three compounds mentioned earlier–melatonin, polyphenols, and anthocyanins–have all been found in studies to support healthy brain function. They may also be valuable in preventing several different types of dementia because of the ability these compounds have to protect brain cells from oxidative stress.
Find the recipe at Kiran-Tarun.
2. Grilled Chicken and Fresh Cherry Salsa
Chicken is a great source of lean and low-fat protein, making it a perfect protein for those wanting to lose weight. Protein is used by the body to grow and maintain muscle and bones; repair any areas of damage in the body; and produce hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters.
Find the recipe at Iowa Girl Eats.
3. Dairy-Free Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Ice Cream
This recipe is a real winner for those looking to ditch ice cream made from cows’ milk that is riddled with hormones and antibiotics or are lactose-intolerant.
What makes it miles better than most homemade ice cream recipes is that it can help you lose weight: coconut milk contains medium-chain fatty acids that are burned as fuel and not stored as fat.
Find the recipe at So Let’s Hang Out.
4. Tart Cherry Fruit Leather
Cherries can reduce the incidence and severity of gout. Patients in one study consumed cherries over a period of 2 days and the research team concluded that in this small space of time their risk of an attack of gout had gone down by a huge thirty-five percent when compared to those in the study who did not consume cherries.
Find the recipe at Running to the Kitchen.
5. Sour Cherry Lime Juice
Take the edge off a hard day at work by sipping on this fruity and sweet-tooth satisfying cherry smoothie. Much better for your waistline than reaching for a bag of sugar-laden sweets!
Cherries may one day be prescribed for those living with cancer, as the anthocyanins in cherries have been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells and even stimulate them to self-destruct. Cherries have also been shown to slow down the growth of colon cancer cells.
Find the recipe at Perchance to Cook.
Life is just a bowl of cherries. Mmmm.
-  http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/79/5/727.full
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082898/
-  http://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2012/914273/
-  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/803289
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2582525/
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12706854
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