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April 12, 2014

Black Cherries: Nature’s Healing Fruit.

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Those semi-sweet bulbous dark beauties that hang on trees and have long stems that we oftentimes attempt to make knots out of with our tongues, they are one of the most potent remedies for healing joint and chronic arthritic pain, among other things.

Seasonally, black cherries are ripest and most delectable during the spring and summer, possessing a richness that can be compared to velvet, in a way.

The black cherry tree is a small tree that usually grows to a height of about 80 feet. The unripe fruit begins as orange in color, yet turns to a darker reddish-black hue when they are ready for harvest. It is within the rich dark skin that most black cherry juice concentrates are derived.

The other supplements made from black cherries come from the bark of the cherry tree. Both have incredible health benefits, and aside from being tasty, these small fruits have wholesome benefits that can treat the symptoms of certain medical conditions and reduce the risk of numerous illnesses.

I love black cherries. Give me a bag of them in the summer time when they are at their peak, and I can pretty much eat the entire lot—so much so that my teeth take on a temporary purplish color. It is one of my go-to fruits when I need to satisfy the dessert sugary craving after a healthy meal. Knowing it aids in other healthful ways is bonus to me.

Here are some incredible reasons to eat black cherries:

1. Anti-inflammatory

The juice of the black cherry is one of the most optimum fruit elixirs to help with gout flare ups and chronic arthritic pain. Studies show that the anthocyanin compounds in black cherries inhibit inflammatory pathways. These compounds are what give the dark color to the fruit, and they fight free radicals in different parts of the body that might become inflamed. Drinking small amounts of black cherry juice concentrate (sans sugar and additives) daily is one of the surest ways to aid in inflammation.

2. Sleep

Black cherries contain both tryptophan and melatonin, both quality facilitators of a sound sleep. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is helpful in calming the body’s nerve impulses. Melatonin is an antioxidant that is produced in the brain’s pineal gland and helps to regulate natural sleep patterns. Because black cherries contain both of these nutrients, drinking an ounce of the raw and unsweetened juice before bedtime will assist with a peaceful slumber.

3. Muscle Recovery

Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, black cherry juice can reduce muscle damage caused by excessive exercise. Eating or drinking a few ounces per day will alleviate tight and sore muscles following a strenuous workout. It all ties in with the anti-inflammatory compounds of the fruit, as well.

4. Hair Loss

One of the most common causes of hair loss is anemia. Anemia is a result of too little iron in the diet. Black cherries are an extremely iron-rich food and incorporating a handful of the raw fruit, or six ounces of juice in your daily fare will help the anemia, which in turn will help with the hair loss.

5. Promotes Good Teeth

One would not think with the dark purple color of the black cherry that it would aid in tooth decay, but the anthocyanin compounds are major in fighting the plaque that causes tooth decay and initiating good oral hygiene. The chances of experiencing dental problems is minimized by eating black cherries or drinking small amounts of the unsweetened concentrated juice. Brush your teeth afterwards though, as black cherries can stain the outer tooth surface, much like blueberries.

6. Heart Benefits

Eating black cherries can provide protection against damage to the arterial walls of the heart. The melatonin presence alone in the fruit reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease by lowering the blood lipid levels. This calming effect of melatonin gives the heart a chance to pump blood at more normal levels thereby reducing the occurrence of “racing heart” syndrome.

Black cherries, in either concentrate form or supplement form, have a wealth of nutritional benefits. Most grocery markets sell them loosely, and of course, organic is preferred. If you choose to purchase the juice of the cherry, opt for the natural tart cherry juice, which is a great addition to smoothies and other mixed juice blends. Or, you can buy the supplemental elixir version of the black cherry and still reap the benefits of all that I mentioned. Whatever you choose, including this amazingly tasty fruit into your diet will keep you healthy and fit. Even baking with black cherries still yields the benefits, although raw is preferred.

Enjoy!

 

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Editor: Travis May

Photo: Wiki Commons

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Gerry Ellen  |  Contribution: 13,620