Food of the Week: Cherries
I chose cherry as the food of the week since it’s in season in the summer months! It’s such a tasty addition to salads, fruity desserts, smoothies, and more! It’s of course also enjoyed simply by itself! There are several varieties of cherries, including ones that are more sweet and others that are more tart. They are all delicious, and it’s fun to try their different tastes!
I want to mention maraschino cherries since they are a popular garnish. Unfortunately the process these cherries go through leaves little to no nutrients and adds some harmful substances to the mix. They are often soaked in brine that includes undesirable ingredients- and then dyed with red coloring and lots of sugar or sweetener is added. To learn more about this process and find a recipe for making a healthier version of your own, visit this webpage here.
Now let’s get into what health benefits cherries have. First I want to mention cherry’s association with gout. Cherries help fight inflammation and oxidative stress, which can improve many conditions such as gout or arthritis. If you have an older loved one that struggles with either of these, I would suggest having some fresh cherries or tart cherry juice in their diet to help relieve these painful symptoms. Due to the antioxidants, anthocyanins, and fiber found in cherries, they are also said to help boost weight loss and improve cardiovascular health.
Cherries are great at helping to reduce inflammation in the body, like many other fruits and vegetables. Another interesting thing about cherries is that they naturally contain some melatonin in their phytochemical makeup. This means that consuming cherries regularly in your diet could help you to get better sleep. So drinking some tart cherry juice could be your next step to having improved sleep habits! Read more about the benefits of cherries here.
Many fruits and vegetables are low-calorie foods that contain lots of nutrients, and cherry is no exception! One cup of cherries has less than 100 calories, and contains a good amount of vitamin C. Something we definitely all need to be getting enough of to stay well. Cherries have vitamins A, B, and K in them as well. You’ll also get some calcium, iron, and magnesium when you consume cherries. To get the most fiber, eat fresh cherries. Cherry juice (with no added sweeteners) is also a decent option, but won’t help you with increasing your fiber consumption. If you do drink fruit juice, it’s best to make your own at home with a juicer. When purchasing from the store, make sure the label says 100% juice.
Cherries are delicious eaten on their own, but they are also great for various recipes. Here are some ideas below to get you started!
- Cherry Crisp (vegan and gluten free)
- Cherry Maca Smoothie
- Arugula and Cherry Salad with Goat Cheese
- Summer Grain Bowl with Cherries and Peaches
- Chocolate Cherry Nice Cream (vegan)
- Cherry Berry Fruit Salad
This is honestly one of the most tempting recipes lists I’ve made before! I want to try everything! I hope you enjoy the cherries from your local farm or market this summer in all their tastiness. Share with us your favorite ways to use cherries in the comments below!