It's cherry season again and the first of the cherries have just arrived at the organic markets.
Of course, we always encourage you to eat only organic food but especially so with foods such as cherries which are among the top twelve most contaminated foods. Studies have been carried out on pesticides in cherries and it has been found that over 90% of cherries contain pesticides and most cherries tested are contaminated with more than one pesticide.
Cherries are a very tasty and nutritious fruit; they contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which have many health benefits. Below is a list of the benefits of eating Certified Organic cherries:
- Cherries contain vitamin C, vitamin A, bioflavonoids, anthocyanins and melatonin.
- Cherries are high in potassium and low in sodium. This improves the water balance in our bodies, and can help in the loss of excess water weight.
- Cherries can help in relieving pain and help with premature aging.
- As cherries are a great source of antioxidants, they help in preventing and repairing the damage caused by free radicals.
- Researchers have found that cherries are a great way to help fight cancer. They contain -
- Queritin (a flavonoid) one of the most potent anticancer agents (fight cancer cells);
- Ellagic acid, a phenolic compound which is a proven anti-carcinogen, anti-mutagen, and anti-cancer initiator;
- Perillyl alcohol helps in reducing the occurrence of all types of cancer, especially pancreas and other cancers with low toxicity. It stops the growth of cancer cells by depriving it of the proteins it needs to grow
- Cherries can help to relieve and prevent pain of arthritis and gout as they contain compounds that slow down certain enzymes. Gout sufferers should try and incorporate fresh cherries in their daily diet.
- Cherries can help in curing migraines, as they help to reduce inflammation in the body. Also they contain anthocyanin and bioflanoids which have similar activity to aspirin and ibuprofen.
- Cherries can help you sleep, as they contain melatonin. This helps the natural sleep patterns of the body. Melatonin has also been shown to be important for the immune system and in lowering the risk of having a heart attack.
- Studies have identified a group of naturally occurring chemicals that could help in lowering blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Adding a handful of drained canned cherries to your morning smoothie may help you ward off diabetes.
- Cherries may help in the treatment of kidney stones, gallbladder ailments, tooth decay, prevention of varicose veins, reducing cholesterol and improving physiological and mental functions.
- Cherries are thought to have a mild laxative affect.
- Cherries are low in kilojoules and contain a small amount of vitamin B
How to choose and store your cherries -
- Look for firm, plump, glossy and deep red colored cherries, free from spots and blemishes, with their stems intact.
- Stems should be fresh and green.
- Avoid cherries without stems, as this promotes an opportunity for them to decay where the skin has broken.
- Check carefully for bruises or cuts on the skin's surface. Don't take cherries that are sticky through juice leakage.
- Choose cherries that have been kept cool and moist (as flavor and texture deteriorates in warm temperatures).
- Loosely pack cherries in plastic bag for storage (to minimize bruising).
- Place cherries in the refrigerator. Fresh cherries in good condition should last for up to a week. Remove any that begin to deteriorate.
- Remember sweet cherries are firm and sour cherries are semi-firm.
A ripe sweet cherry provides one of the greatest taste sensations of any fruit, so enjoy some today!!!
Try this Cherry Smoothie
2 cups of cherries, pitted
1 cup of ice
1 cup vanilla flavored yoghurt
Sugar if necessary
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth