February is National Cherry Month

cherries

Image courtesy of Eating Well

February is National Cherry Month! Here are a few facts about cherries and why you should include them in a healthy diet-

  • Cherries are a low calorie food, only 77 calories in one cup and 2.5 grams of fiber
  • The deep red pigments in cherries are polyphenolic compounds, which have anti-inflammatory effects
  • The anti-inflammatory properties of cherries can may offer positive health effects toward chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and gout arthritis, as well as ease muscle soreness post-workout
  • Anti-oxidants in cherries help to fight against cancer cells by combating harmful free radicals
  • Cherries are high in potassium, a mineral that plays a role in supporting heart health by regulating blood pressure and heart rate
  • Tart cherries are high in melatonin, which calms the nervous system and lowers body temperature to help us sleep

Here are a few ways to include this nutrient and anti-oxidant rich fruit into your diet-

  • Eat a cup of fresh cherries as a snack
  • Top your yogurt or oatmeal with cherries
  • Add fresh or dried cherries to a salad
  • Use dried cherries in a trail mix with heart healthy nuts and seeds
  • Add to a colorful fruit salad
  • Use in a glaze for pork, chicken, or lamb- http://withsaltandwit.com/sage-pork-chops-cherry-balsamic-glaze/
  • Add chopped fresh or dried cherries to a cold grain salad such as cous cous or quinoa- http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cherry-almond-couscous-recipe.html
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