Cherries are part of the Rosaceae family, which includes almonds, peaches, apricots and plums. They are small, fleshy fruits that contain a hard drupe or stone and are generally red or black in color.
There are many species of cherries, however there are mainly two that are commonly eaten: the Wild Cherry, which is the most popular and the Sour Cherry, which is used primarily for cooking and is commonly used in the production of jam.
Cherries are generally expensive fruit to purchase. The reason for this is due to the high costs involved in the production, irrigation and exposure to rain and hail damage.
Cherries are very low in saturated fat and sodium. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. Cherries have been shown to have several other health benefits, such as high levels of anti-inflammatory properties.
In a study carried out by the University of Vermont, together with Cornell University and the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, a highly concentrated cherry juice blend was evaluated to determine its role in the prevention of muscle damage.
Fourteen male college students were evaluated in a randomized, placebo controlled study to determine the effects of the highly concentrated cherry juice on muscle damage and repair. According to the findings, a significant difference was identified between those who drank the cherry juice blend and those drinking the placebo juice. For example, pain also peaked at 24 hours for those drinking cherry juice, but continued to increase for those on the placebo juice for the subsequent 48 hours.
Cherries have also been shown to contain high levels of melatonin. Research has shown that people who have heart attacks have low melatonin levels. Besides being an anti-oxidant, melatonin has also been shown to be important for the functioning of the immune system.
Take note that a large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.