Pretty Please with a Cherry on Top!!
Their high levels of antioxidants help our body to fight off free radicals, which can wreak havoc on the body. These antioxidants are also naturally anti-inflammatory, which helps to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as helping to treat the symptoms associated with a number of inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and gout. Further, antioxidants aid in slowing down the aging process, as well as supporting cognitive function.
These naturally anti-inflammatory properties also make cherries a great post workout treat! They have been shown to reduce muscle soreness post workout, as well as improve muscle recovery and potentially exercise performance.
Cherries are also rich in a particular type of antioxidant called anthocyanins. These have been shown to aid in metabolism, reduce LDL levels (which are considered the “bad” cholesterol), as well as modulating glucose levels. All of this helps to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, as well as aid with weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
In addition, cherries are rich on vitamin C, as well as potassium. In fact, a cup full of cherries contains about 10% of our daily requirement for potassium and 18% of our daily vitamin C requirement. In addition to immune support, vitamin C is great for our skin! Potassium is crucial for our health and many of us do not get enough of it. Sufficient levels of potassium are important for heart health, nerve function, fluid balance/retention, as well as the prevention of muscle cramps.
Tart cherries and tart cherry juice also contain high levels of melatonin, which makes them a great natural sleep remedy. A number of studies have shown that tart cherries/juice, taken before bed, improved melatonin levels and thereby improved not only the ability to fall asleep, but the quality of sleep.
Cherries also contain quercetin, which is a natural anti-histamine. Including natural sources of quercetin in your diet during allergy season is a great way to help reduce symptoms.
Although cherries taste like a sweet, delicious treat, they are surprisingly low in sugar content, as compared to other fruits. Plus, they contain a good dose of fiber.
So besides just eating them by themselves, what else can you do with cherries? How about adding them to a salad for a delicious burst of flavor? Below is a great recipe that I recently tried and its simply delicious!
Quinoa Salad with Dark Cherries and Kale
2 cups pitted and halved dark red cherries
2 cups cooked quinoa
½ cup wild rice
1 cup chopped raw kale
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped raw or sprouted nuts-almonds, cashews or pecans
sea salt and black pepper to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Soak quinoa at least 15 minutes to remove the bitter coating.
Cook the wild rice in 3 cups of water over high heat for 15
Drain the quinoa and add it to the wild rice.
Continue to cook for 15 minutes more just until the quinoa is done. It should be al dente, not mushy.
Drain the mixture.
Combine the quinoa and wild rice mixture, vegetables, cherries and nuts in a large bowl.
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper and pour over the salad