Cherries are literally one of my all-time favourite summer fruits. I remember as a child my mom would bring home bagfuls of them and my sister, brother, and I would sit on the back deck and eat them, one at a time, seeing who could spit the little pit out the farthest. The cherries I love are slightly sweet, slightly tart, slightly tangy – but they do stain so watch out!
As I have grown older (and I like to think a little bit wiser) I have come to realize that they are not only a delicious treat (although this is still true) but they are definitely a powerful superfood we love with many health benefits. Available in Canada between May and July they are amazing straight from the farmers market but also make great additions to smoothies, baked goods, fruit salad, and more.
Here are a few of the reasons I continue my love affair with cherries.
Why cherries are so good for us:
They battle belly fat: They help reduce Fat. In. Your. Belly. Enough said.
They fight insomnia: Eating tart berries or drinking cherry juice can boost melatonin, a hormone which improves and regulates sleep patterns. So, eat or drink up and catch those zzzzzs.
They help fight muscle soreness and inflammation: Studies suggest tart cherries or cherry juice can significantly reduce muscle inflammation and soreness. Grab a handful after a tough workout and you will likely notice a difference!
They reduce risk of stroke: The anthocyanins (the powerful antioxidant that gives the tart cherries their deep red color) can help regulate fat and glucose levels and reduce risk factors for high cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes.
What to look for when buying cherries
Always look for shiny, plump, and firm cherries with fresh green stems and dark coloring for their variety. Avoid any that are too soft, bruised, or that have broken skin.
How to store cherries
Keep cherries, unwashed and stems attached, in a paper bag, loosely-covered container, or loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. Rinse under cool water and gently pat dry with clean paper towels just before eating.
What to do with cherries
Eat cherries straight from the bowl or add to smoothies, granola and yogurt, or fruit salads. Cherries are also great additions to baked goods including cakes, cookies, muffins, tarts, and pies.
Dried cherries can be tossed into salads or added to granola or trail mix.