Spotlight on Cherries!
Cherries are bursting with good nutrition! As fresh cherry season comes to a close I wanted to highlight these nutrient powerhouses!
Interesting cherry facts:
- Michigan produces the most tart cherries, while Washington grows the most sweet cherries.
- Each American eats about two pounds of cherries annually (mostly sweet - cherry pie, yum!!)
- There are more than 1000 different varieties but only a small number (about 20) are used in commercial production).
- Bing cherries are not named for Bing Crosby. They are named for an orchard foreman named Ah Bing.
- The world record for cherry-pit spitting is 93 feet!.
Both sweet and tart cherries contain beneficial nutrients. Some of the nutrients in cherries with health benefits include:
Melatonin: Tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.
Potassium: Sweet cherries are high in potassium which helps to balance fluid in the body. One cup of sweet cherries contains about the same amount of potassium as a small banana.
Antioxidants and Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are a type of phytochemical which has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. (in fact, many athletes drink cherry juice to help with muscle recovery). In laboratory studies, anthocyanins have been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and even promote their self-destruction (www.aicr.org). Anthocyanins also give cherries their beautiful, rich red color. The antioxidants in cherry juice and dried cherries are similar to fresh cherries.