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Just a Bowl of Cherries: All About That Fabulous Fruit 
 
by Rita Templeton July 25, 2005

Why this fruit is “cherry” good for you …

Not only are cherries delicious, they pack a powerful nutritional punch. This little miracle fruit can:

  • Help prevent and fight cancer Cherries are a rich source of healthy antioxidants, which help to repair damaged cells in the body. They contain queritrin, a potent anticancer agent. They also contain ellagic acid, which experts believe is one of the most useful compounds for cancer prevention. Another compound found in cherries is perillyl alcohol (POH), effective in reducing the occurrence of all types of cancer; it stops the spread of cancerous cells by depriving them of the crucial proteins they require in order to grow.
  • Act as an anti-inflammatory. Cherries can help with pain relief; they contain anthocyanin and bioflavonoids, which are compounds that produce a similar effect to that of aspirin or ibuprofen. These compounds can relieve or prevent head and body aches, and even ease the symptoms of arthritis and gout.
  • Improve the body’s Circadian Rhythms. A natural sleep aid, melatonin is abundant in cherries. This antioxidant helps to regulate your sleeping and waking pattern, and since it is found in small quantities in the human body, the dose in cherries can work wonders.
  • Fight against premature aging. The compounds isoqueritrin and queritrin work to eliminate the byproducts of oxidative stress, and thereby slow the aging process.
  • Serve as a healthy snack. Cherries are tasty and nutritious: one cup, approximately 21 cherries, contains no fat, about 90 calories, no sodium, and no cholesterol. They’re also a great source of fiber, potassium (270 mg. per serving, to be exact!) and vitamin C.

It’s difficult (not to mention expensive!) to have fresh cherries available year-round, but you can still enjoy their health benefits by drinking cherry juice concentrate – found in most grocery stores – when the fresh fruit isn’t in season.

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