Health Benefits Of Cherries For Skin & Weight Loss: Side Effects & Nutritional Values
You add them to your cereals and yogurts, you can also eat them as they are; cherries are enjoyed by virtually everyone. However, not many people know about the health benefits of consuming cherries. Eating cherries benefits the body in many ways including helping to reduce inflammations, promoting sleep, and aiding weight loss.
In this article, we shall take a short look at cherries and how they benefit the body as well as some of the common side effects of eating the fruit. Before then, let’s get some basic understanding about this sweet fruit.
What are cherries?
Cherry is a small fleshy fruit with a single stone. And although there are many color varieties of cherries, the most common ones are the red cherries.
Cherries belong to the Rosaceae family of drupes that also include plums and peaches. As a drupe, the cherry fruit has a stony seed surrounded by a succulent pulp and enclosed by a red or purple rind.
There are two major varieties of cherries: tart or tangy cherry and sweet cherry.
Nutritional facts and values Of cherries
One cup of cherries with their pits (approximately 138 grams) contains 22 grams of carbohydrates (18 grams of which are sugars and 3 grams of fiber), 1 gram of protein, 9.7 mg of vitamin C, and 306 mg of potassium. Other nutrients are vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
Cherries contain many chemical compounds including melatonin, which is a hormone that promotes sleep.
Health benefits of eating cherries
Whether eaten raw or made for its juice, cherries have numerous health benefits for the body. Some of the nutritional benefits of consuming cherries are:
- Promotes sleep: There are only a few foods that contain a bioavailable form of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and cherry is one of them. Melatonin found in cherries helps in promoting good sleep. People suffering from insomnia due to depression or anxiety can benefit by adding cherries to their diet. So if you are constantly waking up at night due to worries, you need to start eating cherries.
- Good for cardiovascular health: Cherries contain anthocyanins which are helpful in lowering HDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the body. By regulating the cholesterol levels in the body, the blood pressure is also controlled, thus, protecting the heart from heart problems like stroke.
- Remedy for inflammation: In addition to anthocyanins, cherries also contain other antioxidants such as cyaniding that possess anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammatory conditions like fibromyalgia can be prevented and even treated by consuming lots of cherries.
- Promotes blood circulation: The vitamin E in cherries is helpful in promoting a proper flow of blood in the body. This benefits the body in many ways such as by improving the flow of blood to the hair to maintain healthy hair.
- Aids weight loss: The fact that cherries have low-calorie content with essential nutrients means that you can provide the body with the much-needed nutrients without adding weight. Moreover, the vitamins in cherries help to stimulate metabolism that helps overweight persons lose weight easily. So if you are looking for foods that can help you in shedding the extra weight, cherries should be on the list.
- Provides energy: Eating cherries is a healthy way of providing the body with energy. The most part of a cherry fruit is carbohydrates, mostly in the form of sugars. This means that the body can get enough energy from consuming cherries. Athletes and other active persons can benefit from this as the body is provided with the required energy.
- Prevention of colon cancer: Systemic inflammation is a contributing factor to the formation of cancer cells in the body, thus, reducing the occurrence of this type of inflammation will help in lowering the risk developing certain forms of cancer. Moreover, a recent research reports that tart cherries contain chemical compounds that have anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Good for the hair: The presence of vitamins B and C in cherries plays a role in maintaining healthy hair. Vitamin C promotes hair growth as well as helps in moisturizing the scalp to prevent hair loss.
- Prevention of diabetes: Cherries have a low glycemic index, and thus, can help in protecting the body from diabetes. Diabetes is marked by high blood sugar levels and low insulin levels. Foods with low glycemic index are recommended for persons with a predisposition to diabetes or those already suffering from the condition.
- Prevention of gout: Gout is an inflammatory condition caused by the deposition of uric acid and its salts in the joints. This inflammation causes pain in the affected area. The anti-inflammatory property of cherries is helpful in the treatment of gout pain. Apart from this, a study showed that the risk of gout attacks in gout patients can be reduced by the consumption of cherries.
- Lowers high blood pressure: High blood pressure or hypertension can be controlled by eating foods rich in potassium. This is because high blood pressure levels are as a result of high sodium content in the body as compared to potassium. By taking in more potassium, the sodium content in the body will be balanced, thus, regulating the blood pressure levels. Cherries have potassium, at least more than some other foods.
- Remedy for belly fat: A study conducted on rats showed that tart cherry powder may help in reducing belly fat.
- Treatment for arthritis: Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties that make them beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Even more, the associated pain can be reduced by eating more cherries or drinking cherry juice.
- Provides relief for post-workout pain: Exercising can lead to soreness in the joints or other parts of the body. Drinking tangy cherry juice is a common way of reducing this soreness, especially among pro athletes. Muscle pain due to inflammation can also be reduced by drinking tart/tangy cherry juice.
- Prevention of age-related brain disorders: Due to the high antioxidant content of cherries, the Alzheimer’s Association has included cherries as part of the list of foods that can protect the brain from the disease.
- For balancing pH levels: Some health problems in the body are caused by an imbalance in the pH levels. An example is acid reflux or heartburn due to acidity in the stomach. By eating alkaline foods like cherries, these problems can be prevented and even treated since alkalis neutralize acids.
- Remedy for the effects of ageing on the skin: The antioxidants in cherries give the fruit its many health benefits including helping to protect the body from the effects of free radicals. According to a report, the daily consumption of tangy cherry juice is beneficial in slowing the effects of ageing on the skin. Even more, topical application of cherry puree and turmeric mixture on the skin can help to get rid of dark spots from the skin.
- For a youthful skin: Consumption of cherries can help in creating a youthful look due to the presence of vitamins A and C in the fruit. Vitamin C helps to keep the skin moisturized.
Common side effects of consuming cherries
Although cherries have many health benefits, eating lots of it can be harmful to the health, while exposure of the fruit to persons with known allergies is also not advised. Some of the common risks and side effects of eating cherries are:
- Risk of digestive problems: While cherries are rich in dietary fibers that are beneficial to digestive health, overconsumption can lead to other digestive problems like bloating.
- Risk of allergic reactions: Persons with sensitivity to some fruits may need to stay away from cherries to avoid the risk of having allergic reactions.
- Weight gain: Although one of the benefits of consuming cherries is in aiding weight loss, excessive consumption, however, can cause weight gain. This is because of the fact that a cup of cherries without their pits offers as much as 100 calories. Thus, eating more than a cup of cherries per day can lead to weight gain in the long term.
- Risk of food poisoning: Various scientific reports have ranked cherries among the top poisonous foods eaten. This means that eating so many cherries (inorganic ones) can cause food poisoning. Hence, it is advised that only organic cherries are consumed.
- Risk of nutrient deficiency: Overeating cherries can lead to deficiencies in important nutrients. This is because while cherries are good sources of carbohydrates and vitamins such as vitamin C, they are also lacking in other vital nutrients. Thus, it is advised that you do not depend on cherries as your primary source for essential vitamins and minerals.
There are many other health benefits of consuming cherries; the above-mentioned benefits are some of the many. In addition, while most of the benefits outlined in this article are backed by scientific research, you need to do your due diligence by seeking professional medical advice.
That being said, this article is meant for educative and informative purposes and does not substitute professional medical advice; hence, you need to consult with your doctor if you have any notable health condition.