Life may not be a bowl of cherries, but a bowl of cherries can do wonderful things in your life. We’re here to tell you why this summer fruit is the icing on the cake of your healthy diet. When it comes to these cute little red gems, you will be shocked that something so delicious can be so good for you. Our health and wellness experts have researched the benefits of cherries and how they can help you meet your weight loss goals.
Here are five reasons to add cherries to your SmartCarb shopping list:
1. Cherries put out the fire.
Cherries can help you keep the pounds in check during your weight loss by reducing a harmful process in your body called inflammation. Research shows that obesity can cause inflammation. It’s a chemical reaction triggered by your immune system that, in response to an injury, can help heal it. The problem is that if inflammation becomes chronic, it can cause significant damage to your arteries and organs. “Overeating increases the immune response. This increased immune response causes the body to create excessive inflammation, which can lead to a number of chronic diseases, ”says Science Daily.
Uncontrolled inflammation can also contribute to weight gain. A study published in the journal Diabetes found that men who had high levels of certain inflammation-sensitive proteins in their blood were more likely to gain weight. “This connection could contribute to the connection between inflammation, the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases,” the researchers said.
Cherries are high in compounds called anthocyanins, which can suppress the harmful inflammation associated with obesity that can lead to disease, says Technology.org. According to CarePointHealth.org, Oregon Health and Science University says these lovely little berries, especially tart cherries, have the highest levels of anti-inflammatory compounds of any food. That gives them the potential to put out the fires that pile up the pounds during your weight loss journey!
2. You have a secret ingredient that creates calorie burning fat.
There’s another useful compound in tart cherries that might surprise you: melatonin. You probably know it as the hormone your body produces to help you fall asleep. However, according to Science Daily, researchers from the University of Granada have found that it can also help you manage your weight.
In their studies on obese diabetic rats published in the Journal of Pineal Research, scientists found that melatonin can help control weight without restricting food intake. According to Science Daily, “melatonin consumption helps control weight gain because it stimulates the appearance of ‘beige fat,’ a type of fat cell that burns calories instead of storing them. White adipose tissue stores calories that lead to weight gain, while “beige fat” (also known as “good or thinning fat”) helps regulate body weight control, hence its metabolic benefits. “
3. Cherries can help you fall asleep.
According to Healthline, melatonin can also help you sleep well, another factor in keeping unwanted pounds in check. Scientists have found that people who don’t get enough sleep at night experience spikes in hunger and appetite, especially with high-calorie foods, Mayo Clinic says. One reason: Lack of sleep can affect the hormones that regulate hunger. Another: Fatigue makes you look for energy in the wrong places (like the kitchen) and it can also keep you from exercising.
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4. Cherries can improve your heart health.
While getting some melatonin by drinking a glass of tart cherry juice, you can also reduce your risk of heart disease. Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found that rats fed a whole tart cherry powder on a high-fat diet did not gain as much weight or body fat as the rats that did not eat the cherry powder. According to Science Daily, “Her blood had far fewer molecules that indicate the type of inflammation that has been linked to heart disease and diabetes. They also had significantly lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than the other rats. ”The rats that ate cherries also experienced another benefit: less weight gain in the stomach. Belly fat is said to increase the risk of heart disease.
5. Cherries can counteract a high-fat diet.
What about sweet cherries? Don’t go past them. Research from the University of Tasmania found that high-fat diets mice treated with anti-inflammatory compounds from sweet cherries gained 19 percent less weight than mice whose high-fat diets were not supplemented with the compounds.
Sweet cherries are of course available in the vegetable department of your supermarket. Eat them out of hand, toss them in a green shake to mask the taste of kale or spinach, or freeze them for an icy snack (you can buy cherry pits for under $ 20). You can get your daily dose of tart cherries by drinking juice (available in bottles and as a concentrate) or popping some dried tart cherries – also right in your market. Prepare a refreshing summer drink by combining tart cherry juice with non-calorie seltzer and, if necessary, adding a non-calorie sweetener to reduce acidity.
Both sweet and sour cherries are considered SmartCarb on the Nutrition planwhich means they are full of nutrients and fiber but have a low to medium glycemic index. One cup of cherries has only 77 calories, contains 2.5 grams of fiber, and provides 39 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Are you looking for healthy recipes to enjoy this delicious fruit? Check out some of our favorite ideas below:
Fill your summer menu with fresh, fun and fruity sweets! Look at this delicious and nutritious dessert recipes from our expert recipe developers at The Leaf. Enjoy these healthy treats during the summer months or any time of the year!