Saturday, August 2, 2014

It's Time To Pop Your Cherries...


 It's summer and I'm reacquainted with great tasting cherries.

Cherries are from "genus prunus", that means it contains a single stony seed. Cherries seem to have a very erotic quality. Who can forget a girl, who can tie a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue.  Guess what they're not just for cocktail decorations, Cherries are a pretty healthy snack as well. Of the over 150 flavonoids found in plants, anthocyanins have the greatest antioxidant capacity. Cherries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins on the planet. The native range of the wild cherry extends through most of Europe, western Asia and parts of northern Africa, and the fruit has been consumed throughout it's range since prehistoric times. A cultivated cherry tree is recorded as having been brought to Rome from Turkey, in 72 BC. Bing Cherries were first cultivated in the state of Oregon in the early 1870's, and quickly became the top ranking of north american cherry varieties. I have to disagree however, my favorite is the giant yellow and red Rainer cherries. Loaded with vitamins, cherries also contain melatonin a naturally occurring hormone. It is produced within the penial gland. It's called melatonin, and it plays a major role in regulating a persons biological clock, and sleep habits.

Also, recently there have been many successful studies using melatonin in treatment of cancer, migraines, cluster headaches, mood disorders, fertility, ADHD, autism, bi-polar disorder, insomnia, and preventing memory loss in alzheimer's patients just to name a few. One cup of cherries contains 27mg of melatonin, and this antioxidant also guards against the breakdown of collagen. This results in a slower rate of wrinkle formation and fine lines within the skin. Cherries are also rich in vitamin A (beta carotene) and provide 88 IU's per serving. Vitamin A has been known to increase collagen production and can help soften facial lines. Cherries have 19 times the amount of beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries, and it looks like this little power-house can even help prevent, and fight cancer. They also contain queritrin which is a potent little anti-cancer agent on it's own. They also contain ellagic acid, which some experts now believe is one of the most useful compounds for cancer prevention. Cherries antioxidants, help to repair free-radical cells in the body. Another compound found in cherries is perillyl alcohol or POH, which is very 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. Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have found that Cherries, consumed consistently over time, may help defend the body against inflammation tied to arthritis and heart disease.


 At the Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, California, their research published in the Journal of Nutrition, showed healthy volunteers consumed about 45 Bing cherries each day for 28 days. Then blood samples revealed that levels of nitric oxide and C reactive protein dropped by 18-25 percent. Why should you care? Nitric oxide, and C reactive protein are two indicators which measure inflammation in the body. According to the researchers, the cherries contain natural properties which suppress some the compounds linked to inflammation. Research from Michigan State University suggests eating cherries can be just as effective as aspirin. Sometimes those headaches seem to be never ending, but in fact, eating just 20 cherries can be 10 times more effective than taking aspirin. Anthocyanins present within the fruit deconstruct enzymes which cause inflammation, and relieve pain associated with headaches at a more rapid rate. The potassium then removes the excess sodium within the bloodstream. Thereby calming the blood-vessel walls. Cherries, are loaded with 306 mg of potassium per serving. That can have a positive impact on blood pressure.
 
Recent studies suggest blood pressure can be lowered by 25% when eating this potassium rich fruit. When you are looking for something to rid yourselves of belly fat, remember cherries are rich in pectin, a fiber which converts to a slow-digesting gel in your stomach, blocks fat storage, and increases fullness by up to 32%.  Research suggests that increasing pectin-rich foods in our diets can enhance weight loss by up to 38%. One cup of cherries provides about 2.7g of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for intestinal health and helps to prevent constipation. According to Mayo Clinic.com, fiber also helps to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Your body can't digest fiber, you absorb fewer calories when you eat it. Eating cherries, or drinking fresh cherry juice after a workout can even speed up your recovery. In a study conducted at Northumbria University in England, athletes who drank cherry juice recovered more quickly after running a marathon than participants who took a placebo. Throughout the 48 hours following the marathon, athletes in the cherry juice group suffered less inflammation, and oxidative stress which has harmful side effects on long-distance runners.

The deep red color of the cherries was ancient mans first heads-up that the fruit was really special, and now science is taken that a step farther and uncovered the link between this fruit and good health. Don't forget all the great deserts that just couldn't live without cherries. Like pies, tarts, cheesecake, and girls! If you can't get fresh cherries where you live, try dried cherries, they're like raisins. For a change of pace, swap cherries for your usual after-workout energy drink or bar. A 1⁄2-cup serving of dried cherries has 200 calories and about 49 grams of carbohydrates, about the same as an energy bar. Remember tart cherries are pumped full of melatonin, which can positively impact sleep patterns, and who doesn't want to sleep better. If you eat enough (about a handful) you may sleep better. All in all, I'm really glad I got reacquainted with cherries, and you should too. Good Luck...








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