Research has shown that cherries can help the body prevent heart disease and cancer, as well as block inflammatory enzymes to provide pain relief of gout, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and improved bone health.
Heart Disease Prevention
According to researchers, a flavonoid found in cherries that has anticarcinogenic properties called "quercetin" can help to prevent heart disease. Cherries are considered a nutritionally significant source of quercetin, containing larger quantities per serving then most other fruits.
A phenolic acid called amygdalin, also termed Vitamin B17 and laetrile, found in the kernels of cherries and other fruits, has been shown to reduce tumor size and further spread of cancer, as well as to alleviate the pains of the cancerous process. Populations such as the Hunza in Pakistan that have always incorporated amygdalin into their diets have remained cancer free, leading scientists to believe that its consumption could also be a powerful cancer prevention food.
Anthocyanins found in cherries also block inflammatory enzymes, reducing pain. In fact, 20 cherries are 10 times as potent as aspirin and have positive effects on gout and arthritis pain.
Sweet cherries are considered to be excellent sources of boron, providing 396 ug/100g. Boron consumption, coupled with calcium and magnesium has been linked to increased bone health.
In Studies: The relation between gout and cherry juice was studied in a 1950 Texas study of twelve patients who were gout sufferers. When there patients were given about a pound of fresh or canned cherries a day (or the equivalent amount of cherry juice), uric acid levels went down to normal and they did not suffer any more attacks of gouty arthritis. In addition, these patients reported increased movement in the small joints normally affected by gout such as their fingers and toes when including the cherries in their diet.
Another study on the relation between gout and cherry juice was published in the Journal of Natural Products in 1999. This study demonstrated that patients who ate at least twenty cherries per day gave similar pain relief as aspirin and other pain killers because the cherries inhibited compounds that caused inflammation of the joints. They discovered that 20 cherries a day provides between 12 and 25 milligrams of anthocyanin (an active flavonoid compound).
History: Cherries are native to Europe, Asia, and North America. In America people had been harvesting wild and cultivated cherries for hundreds of years. They first showed up when the French explorers from Normandy brought cherry pits and planted them along the Saint Lawrence River. Early cherries were of the sour variety, but then around 1870 a farms started producing theBing cherry.
Technicals: Cherries are nearly fat and sodium free and a good source of vitamins and minerals, a great source of fiber, and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Rich in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B complex. Many health benefits of cherries may be due to its high levels of antioxidants, including the flavonoids anthocyanins and quercetin, and the phenolic acid amygdalin.
Sources: Cherries are roughly round fruit with a depression at top of the fruit. The skin is smooth and shiny and usually ranges from pale to very dark red, some yellow and white cultivars exist.
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