Friday, July 26, 2013

Trouble Sleeping? Eat Cherries

One of nature's true healing foods. I always knew that cherries were an excellent source of antioxidants, but recently I was surprised to find out that this cute little fruit is also an all natural sleeping aide. Cherries naturally contain melatonin, a natural substance that is typically produced by your brain to regulate your sleep cycles. While your body does have the ability to produce its own melatonin, it typically does so only in darkness and not everyone is able to produce all the melatonin that is needed. Factors such as the artificial lighting that is found in many offices and homes limit how much melatonin is produced by your body. Eating cherries before bed acts as an all natural sleep aid that works by replacing some of the lost melatonin. Sounds like an excellent addition to my nightly routine, how about you?  Yes... I'm thinking cherries and some chamomile tea will do just fine.

Other Benefits

Helps Fight Cancer
Cherries, along with many other berries, are a rich source of antioxidants. They help prevent or repair the damage that is done to the body’s cells by free radicals. This means that antioxidants replace free radicals in your body before they can cause any damage.

Pain Relief and Bone Health, including arthritis and gout
Cherries contain a substance known as anthocyanins. This substance is effective in relieving pain by blocking out the inflammatory enzymes that cause it. According to the California Cherry Advisory Board, eating 20 cherries is 10 times more effective than taking aspirin. Anthocyanins also work to relieve the pain associated with arthritis and gout. Cherries also contain boron, which helps increase bone health when consumed in conjunction with magnesium and calcium.

Migraine Relief
By helping reduce inflammation in the body, the anthocyanin and bioflavonoids in cherries also help eliminate migraine headaches. These compounds are known to have similar activity to aspirin and ibuprofen.

How to Enjoy Cherries Daily

Tart cherries are readily available year-round. Dried and frozen tart cherries and cherry juice (or juice concentrate) are easy to find. Here are some ways to incorporate tart cherries into your daily diet.

1. Add dried cherries to trail mix or granola.

2. Add dried cherries to your cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or pancakes.

3. Add dried cherries to tossed salads, fruit salads and chicken salads.

4. Make cherry muffins instead of blueberry muffins.

5. Add dried cherries to oatmeal cookies instead of raisins.

6. Add frozen cherries to smoothies.

7. Make a cherry spritzer by adding cherry juice concentrate to cold seltzer water.


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