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How to Best Use Cherries in Your Diet (With 5 Easy to Try at Home Cherry Recipes)

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How to Best Use Cherries

There are many health benefits of cherries because they are rich in essential nutrients.

Who hasn’t ever tasted cherries?

Whether preserved on syrup accompanying desserts or raw and with a delicious bitter aftertaste, these fruits are well known throughout the occidental society.

Cherries belong to the genus Prunus, of which only two are widely cultivated for the fruit.​

These are Prunus avium and P. cerasus, both originally from Japan, Korea and China​.

However, P. cerasus is the species from which we obtain many varieties of cherries, among them the most common is, the Morello cherry.​(1)

These fruits are around 0.7 inches in size. The skin varies from bright red to a darker tone, while the flesh is usually darker.

Each fruit has a long stem on top, and tend to grow in husks.

Their taste ranges from sweet to sour, depending on the variety, and each fruit has a single small stone-like seed inside.

The seed is not edible and can be toxic if ingested, so its consumption is not recommended​.

However, the rest of the fruit can be eaten raw, cooked, dried or even preserved in syrup (as most commonly seen in desserts).

These fruits are very nutritious, particularly high in vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium and iron.​

Below is a chart that covers the most important nutritional content of cherries.​(2)

Water 86.13 g

Dietary fiber 1.6 g

Sugars 8.49 g

Calcium 16 mg

Iron 0.32 mg

Vitamin A 64 µg​

Magnesium 9 mg

Phosphorus 15 mg

Potassium 173 mg

Sodium 3 mg

Vitamin C 10 mg

Thiamin (Vitamin B1) 0.03 mg

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 0.04 mg

Niacin (Vitamin B3) 0.4 mg

Vitamin B6 0.044 mg

Vitamin E 0.07 mg

Vitamin K 2.1 µg​

As dietary complements, cherries also help prevent certain ailments.

Below are some health benefits of cherries that you need to know.(3)

Health benefits of cherries

  • The high levels of vitamin C boost the immune system, keeping it healthy and preventing viral infections.
  • It is rich in antioxidants, so it helps to slow down cell degeneration.
  • Its fiber levels help relieve intestinal constipation and also promote bowel movements.
  • It keeps the eyes healthy by preventing ailments and infections.
  • It helps to prevent, reduce or manage several nerve-related diseases, such as Parkinson, Alzheimer, depression, and insomnia.
  • Reduces the risk of developing cancer.

5 Amazing Cherry Recipes You Can Try at Home to Get Nutrients of Cherries

1. Cherries In A Portuguese Delicacy

The Grilled Mackerel with Cherries is for those seafood lovers with a sweet tooth. It was used to both preserve and flavor fish during long travels.

Image By: theguardian

This dish offers plenty of protein from the fish, phosphorus, and antioxidants.This dish is ideal for a light meal with enough nutrients but low in fat.

However, due to the soy sauce, it may not be recommended for hypertensive people.

2. Cherries In Your Morning Oat Meal

Cereal and fruit are a typical way to energize before starting the day. Cherries are not exempt to this and can be part of a delicious and energizing meal.

Image: NYT

Prepare the oatmeal as it suits you best:

you can let it soften overnight with water and salt and stir it with milk later on, or boil it directly in the milk.

Either way, this dish is served best hot with the fresh cherries (dehydrated work just fine as well), pistachios and sweetener.​

This is a light and healthy morning meal that helps the digestive system work properly and cleanse itself.

The only risk would consist of either poorly cooked oatmeal or allergies to the ingredients.

Also, overdoing on the portion or the sweetener on a daily basis can actually cause digestive problems and cause weight gain.​

3. Dried Cherries In Your Healthy Muffins

A baked dessert couldn’t be missing!

Dried cherries make for a delicious touch for muffins, and can even be a healthy way to enjoy a pastry!

The dish is rich in fiber content and provides improved digestion.

However, due to a number of fatty ingredients, its consumption should be limited and avoided on a daily basis.​

4. Enjoy Cherry Butter

Cherry butter is a product similar to the jam. It is a way in which cherries can be preserved for a long time without going bad.

The process is quite complicated. The fresh cherries must be pitted and washed thoroughly before cooking them.​

Once cooked, the mix is put on a fruit strainer and mashed thoroughly.

The resulting mass is very thick and can be preserved in sealed containers from 18 months to two years. Frozen it can last for an indefinite time.​

The natural sugars of the cherry are well preserved, and because it does not require much sweetener, it is safer to consume than normal jam.

However, it still contains sugar and as such its consumption should be moderate.​

5. Cherries Vinaigrette With Walnuts, Parsley, And Pomegranate

This salad is simple, and an ideal choice for those who enjoy fresh dishes and also have a sweet tooth.

Cherries Vinaigrette With Walnuts, Parsley And Pomegranate

This must be the easiest dish on the list.

The washed and pitted cherries are tossed with the walnuts and parsley.

The pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and olive oil are mixed separately and later used to dress the salad. Best served fresh.

Since the cherries are still raw, it contains plenty of vitamins and minerals.

The rest of the ingredients are also safe to eat so, unless allergic to any of the ingredients, this should be a dish to enjoy at a heart’s content.​

Side effects of cherries

Cherries are not known for being a dangerous fruit, but they do have a few risks to the health.

To begin with, cherries contain allergens, which means that some substances found in the fruit can produce allergic reactions​.(4)

These fruits are also high in sugar content. If consumed in excess, they can cause metabolic dysfunctions and weight gain.​(5)

In people with diabetes, they can lead to hyperglycemia.

However, the most damage comes from the fruit’s seed. The seed is very hard to digest and can lead to the obstruction and rupture of the digestive system.

​Otherwise, these have a high content of hydrogen cyanide, a substance that gives almonds their characteristic taste.

In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide can help stimulate respiration and improve digestion but is highly toxic and even deadly if consumed in high doses. The consumption of the seeds is not recommended.​(6)

Who should avoid taking cherries?

People allergic to plants of the Rosaceae family (plums, apples, apricot, almonds, etc.) and certain kinds of pollen.

Advice

The plants of the genus Prunus are mostly found at high altitudes, preferably in cold weather.

Cherry trees, in particular, grow better in cold weathers, with moderate humidity and seasonal rains.

Along with their sensitivity to microbiotic infections, such as parasitic insects, molds, and bacteria can make its production tricky, leading to a rise in the price of the final product, especially the fresh fruit.​

An economic option if fresh cherries are either unavailable or too expensive would be dehydrated ones, which keep most of their nutrients and can be stored for long periods of time, and are also easier to add to dishes.​

Conclusion

Cherries are a good option for a healthy diet, containing many vitamins and minerals to complement other food groups.

Their versatility to both consume and preserve make them a must for a healthy lifestyle, as long as the pocket encounters the option that better suits ourselves.​

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