Last summer I discovered dark cherries in the freezer section at Costco. I used them every single day in a smoothie with chocolate soymilk and Greek yogurt. I was in heaven with the chocolate cherry concoction. I was also getting some fantastic benefits from those cherries.
Many people choose cherries in season (usually late spring – summer) and don’t think about them the rest of the year. However, cherries have a lot of nutrients and benefits without a lot of calories – about 80-90 calories per cup of fresh cherries – and many people would benefit from consuming then year-round.
Tart cherries have antioxidants that can help reduce age-related diseases and conditions. These antioxidants, called anthocyanins, give cherries their red color.
Emerging research suggests tart cherries can help reduce the pain and inflammation from gout and arthritis and the pain from endurance activities such as running. There is also evidence that cherries can reduce risk of heart disease because of the flavonoid quercetin. Quercetin may also protect against cancer.
Since cherries are available fresh, frozen and dried, we can consume them year-round. Cherry juice is also widely available. Add dried cherries to salads, cereals or snack on them as is; frozen cherries are good in smoothies or added to plain yogurt, and enjoy fresh cherries as a snack.
The frozen cherries are long gone. I check for them regularly, and hope for their return in the spring. In the meantime, I stain my fingers with fresh cherries and drink 6 ounces of cherry juice to help with any pain I may have from running 4-6 miles each morning.