Cherries are in season and packed with powerful health benefits!
Cherry season is joyfully upon us and in Italy, specifically in Raiano, Abruzzo, cherry season is celebrated with a Sagra - a sacred festival in tribute to Saint Venance, patron Saint of the city and of gourmets, whom the cherry symbolizes. The streets are adorned in red and there are parades and music.
Another popular cherry is the Amarena from Bologna and Modena in Emilia-Romagna. These cherries are cooked and jarred in syrup to be enjoyed on desserts like Panna Cotta or with rich chocolate desserts. Preserving them this way helps preserve the harvest and enjoyment of this early summer beauty.
Cherries also pack a powerful health punch. I hope I’ll be able to convince you to eat more cherries this season! Both of my favorite sources - Anthony William, the Medical Medium and Prevention.com agree on these following benefits:
“Cherries are a medicinal powerhouse fruit that are packed with vitamins A, C, E, and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, and manganese. The high levels of anthocyanins and antioxidants found in cherries make them an excellent food to help the body fight against neurological diseases, diabetes, and breast, lung, colon, and stomach cancers.
Cherries also contain potent anti-inflammatory properties and are particularly beneficial for those suffering with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, lyme’s disease, frozen shoulder, arthritis, gout, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, and sports injuries. Cherries are a well known “brain food” and can help to strengthen cognitive function by helping to improve memory, focus, and concentration and help to reduce brain fog.
They are also a fantastic food for cardiovascular health and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. Cherries are an excellent source of melatonin which is known to calm the nervous system, decrease irritability, relieve neurosis, ease headache conditions and promote a solid nights sleep with a balanced sleep-wake cycle.
This soothing effect on the brain neurons makes it an essential food for those who suffer from insomnia or for those who have high anxiety and stress in their lives. Cherries are rich in fiber and are a great natural remedy for constipation. When in season fresh cherries are a quick sweet snack that can easily be eaten while on the go.” medicalmedium.com (Also see 7 Benefits of Sweet Cherries - Prevention.com)
Cherries are best enjoyed fresh, raw and in season of course - so that means local cherries - but they are still super healthy if you choose to cook, bake and preserve them. This week I hope you'll try this Italian Cherry Pound Cake. If you don't have a cherry pitter, you can set your cherries on top of a wine or soda (glass) bottle and press the pit through.
So whether you decide to enjoy them plainly or bake with them, I just hope you will take advantage of their myriad health benefits and eat lots of them! Cherries are a great way to eat yourself healthy.