Cherries are the healthy pick

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CHERRIES ARE THE HEALTHY PICK
HEALTH TREAT: The cherry on the cake. Photo credit: Freestock

HAVE you ever said no to a cherry? Probably not. This summertime treat is simply delicious. And if you’re looking for another reason to indulge, you’ll be pleased to know that cherries are surprisingly good for you.

Heart and diabetes

Heart disease and diabetes threaten the health of millions every year, and cherries can help. Research from Michigan State University found that 20 cherries provide 25 milligrams of anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation by shutting down the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation. This helps protect the arteries from the damage that leads to heart disease. Further research shows that those same anthocyanins also help lower blood sugar levels in animals, leading scientists to speculate that a similar blood sugar lowering effect could occur in humans.

Gout

Cherries also have a low glycemic index, making them a good choice for people with diabetes. Foods with a high glycemic index cause blood glucose to soar and then quickly crash. In contrast, foods with a low index, like cherries, release glucose slowly and evenly, helping you maintain a steady blood sugar level — as well as leaving you feeling full longer and potentially helping you maintain a healthy weight.

People suffering from gout, a form of arthritis characterized by severe pain, redness and tenderness in the joints can also be eased by cherries. Research from the Boston University School of Medicine showed that people who ate cherries had a 35 to 75 per cent lower chance of experiencing a gout attack.

Sleep

When you find yourself wide awake and restless, your melatonin levels might be low. Melatonin is the chemical that controls your body’s internal clock to regulate sleep and promote overall healthy sleep patterns. Studies show that cherries are a natural source of melatonin, and researchers who have studied the melatonin content of cherries recommend eating them an hour before bedtime to help stabilise your sleep cycle.

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