Cherries are some of the most delicious and accessible fruits we can indulge in once summer sets in and we want to eat something that’s both delicious and refreshing. However few people know just how healthy cherries are, since they are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that do wonders for your health and well-being – this is precisely why they’ve been called some of nature’s finest superfoods.
Even if it may not be their season, you can still find cherries regardless of the part of the world you find yourself in, since there are many cherry varieties available out there and there is a pretty robust industry worldwide built around cherries.
What Are the General Health Benefits of Cherries?
Cherries are well-known for the myriad of health benefits they bring to the table, no matter how you choose to consume them. Whether you prefer eating them raw or incorporating them in desserts, baked goods or your morning yogurt treat, you still get an important boost to your well-being.
In order to better understand why they’re so widely popular and recommended as part of a healthy diet, let’s look at their nutritional value in greater detail. If you take one cup (154 grams) of sweet, raw, pitted cherries, you’ll benefit from 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, 18% of the daily recommended intake (DRI) of vitamin C, 10% of the DRI of potassium, 5% of the DRI of copper, 5% of the DRI of manganese. Additionally to this, they also contain a good dose of vitamin K, vitamin E and magnesium.
Cherries may improve your heart health, due to their potassium and polyphenol content. They have also been proven to improve the painful symptoms of gout and arthritis, due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have consistently shown that gout patients who had a daily intake of cherries had considerably less gout attacks than those who did not consume this fruit. The ability to relieve pain in these patients is an extraordinary quality that cherries possess, making them a good supplement that can be added on top of the recommended pharmaceutical treatment.
Cherries are also particularly good, especially in their juiced form, for athletic recovery and are widely popular among athletes who need to relieve exercise-induced muscle pain, while also maintaining their strength.
If you have troubles sleeping properly or at all, you may find that cherries can remedy this issue. They are one of the few fruits to contain melatonin, the substance that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle and induce sleepiness when you need it the most. Both raw cherries and cherry juice are efficient in this respect.
However cherries still remain somewhat unknown when it comes to their positive impact on your physical appearance. Their composition makes cherries an effective aid in improving the health and look of your skin and hair. So are cherries good for skin? How about for your hair? Let’s look a bit closer at seven benefits of cherries for skin and hair:
1. Antioxidants Fight Damaging Free Radicals
Cherries are packed with an impressive amount of antioxidants, which weaken the skin barrier, making the skin more vulnerable to external damage coming from harmful UV rays and pollution. These free radicals also accelerate the body’s natural cellular aging process. To this end, antioxidants can help slow down this process with results that can also be seen at skin level. By having a regular intake of cherries, you can help your skin look young for longer, by protecting it from pestering external factors.
2. Vitamin C Makes an Efficient Ally for Both Your Skin and Hair
Some of the benefits of cherries for hair also stem from their vitamin C content. This vitamin is one of the most known antioxidants out there and it helps strengthen the hair follicles, while also strengthening the hair and helping prevent it breaking from the roots. Vitamin C also stimulates the growth of new hair follicles, which means that a healthy intake of cherries will have you growing lush, stronger hair.
Apart from this, vitamin C also does wonders for the skin, since it efficiently staves off the natural aging process, reducing its dullness, as well as leveling fine wrinkle lines. Vitamin C also stimulates the body in producing more collagen, which helps the skin maintain its elasticity and firm appearance in time.
3. Vitamin A Nourishes and Stimulates Regeneration
Vitamin A has extremely positive effects on the hair, as it helps stimulate sebum production, the one substance that nourishes and protects the hair. Just like vitamin C, vitamin A also prevents unpleasant hair breakage from happening.
When it comes to your skin, vitamin A is there to help it get the moisturization it needs, giving it the magazine-like radiant glow you’re looking for. Vitamin A is the active ingredient that promotes the two top layers of your skin, the dermis and epidermis. If you are suffering from acne or breakouts on your skin, you may just see a decrease in these symptoms if you start consuming cherries regularly, as the vitamin A they contain regulate the sebum secreted at skin level.
4. Potassium Helps Improve the Health of Your Skin and Hair
If you’re suffering from hair loss, it’s important to note that this loss may be attributed to a potassium deficiency in the body. Potassium is a mineral that will keep your hair looking and feeling healthy, as well as shiny.
As for the skin, this electrolyte named potassium is efficient in controlling the water you retain in your body, while also keeping your blood at a healthy pH level. Therefore the potassium you find in your daily cherries intake will help you get a more moisturized and hydrated skin, naturally substituting expensive creams and lotions.
5. Vitamin E Is Essential In Skin and Hair Care
Although not in impressive quantities, vitamin E is still to be found in both sour and sweet cherries and it’s truly miraculous for the skin. Vitamin E is known for fighting free radicals and protecting the skin from harmful outside factors. It also supports healthy cell function and a strong immune system. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that will help even out any outbreaks and irregularities you may have on your skin.
Aside from this, vitamin E also promotes blood circulation, which means it can help your hair maintain its great growth rate and luscious looks. It also repairs damaged hair follicles and prevents tissue corrosion.
6. Melatonin Acts as an Aid In the Natural Aging Process
As mentioned before, melatonin is naturally found in only a few fruits available to us and is responsible with the pigmentation of our skin. It controls pigmentation changes by aggregating melanin into the melanocytes within the skin, while also fighting the damaging action of free radicals in the body.
To this end, cherries are also known for their ability to lighten up the skin, slightly changing its pigmentation and reducing color spots. So if you want to notice improvement when it comes to the health of your skin, consider introducing cherries into your regular diet – the results won’t take long to appear.
Melatonin also regulates a deficient sleep-wake cycle, ensuring you get a better night’s sleep, which in turn will make your skin look fresher, less worn out.
7. Vitamin K Is the Key Ingredient in Blood Clotting
The nutritional value of cherries indicates they also contain a decent amount of vitamin K that’s very welcome to the overall health of your blood and clotting process. That’s right, this vitamin is the star when it comes to helping the body heal wounds, bruises, scars and areas of the body affected by surgery.
Although more studies are needed to back up this information as a scientific truth, it’s thought that vitamin K can also help with improving the appearance of stretch marks. It’s also believed that a decent intake of this vitamin can help you lighten the dark circles that tend to form around the eyes.
Vitamin K also reduces inflammation, swelling and redness and may even alleviate the symptoms of eczema. These are only the direct effects on the skin, but vitamin K also prevents calcium from being deposited in the arteries, which makes for a healthier heart. This in turn only results in healthy blood circulation which ultimately leads to a healthier looking skin as well.
Vitamins and minerals are wonderful like this, since they do not only impact the skin and hair directly, but also ensure the proper functioning of other important systems in the body. All the body’s functions, organs and tissues are intimately connected, which means the antioxidant, vitamins and minerals intake you’ll get from regularly consuming cherries will have a manifold positive effect on your overall well-being and implicitly on your skin and hair.
All in all, there are around 1,200 varieties of cherries in the world, each of them with their unique taste and nutritional value. Having said this, it’s up to you to choose the variety that best suits your taste and is more accessible in your region. Regardless of what type you choose, you can be sure you’ll enjoy the same health benefits mentioned above – after all they are some of nature’s most appreciated superfoods.
The best part about cherries is that they’re really versatile, which means you can either eat these magnificent antioxidant fruits raw, dry them up and include them in your muesli, juice them or incorporate them into amazing desserts.