One of the few varieties of fruits and vegetables that is available only for a brief part of the season is Cherries. As a member of the plant family that comprises of fruits and vegetables such as plums, apricots, peeches, and nectarines, Cherries are lower in vitamins and minerals than their other counterparts in this family.
The flavor and the inordinately low calorie content present in these Cherries make it an ideal snack for the persons during the brief period they are available for consumption.
There are more than 1,000 varieties of cherries across the world. The most popular sweet cherries are Bing and the Lamberts, available in North America.
Apart from the low calorie content, cherries are found to be a rich source for pectin, a soluble fiber that is responsible for reducing the cholesterol content and keeping the cholesterol level under control. In addition to pectin, cherries are also an abundant source of quercetin, a flavonoid with anticarcinogenic and antioxidant activities.
One cup of cherries, either sweet or sour, is said to contain as much as 130 calories. Though both the sweet cherries and the sour cherries contain high level of beta carotene, Vitamin C and potassium, sour cherries are found to have much higher level of beta carotene.
Apart from nutritional benefits of cherries, it has been discovered that cherries provide a number of healing benefits.
Traditional folk healers often advocate sour cherries to treat gout. Some alternative practitioners advise that the juice of wild choke cherries can be effective in alleviating an attack on gout.
According to research, there seems to be valid claim for the healing capability of the cherries, as was being practiced by traditional healers.
There exists in cherries a substance called as cyanidin which has anti-inflammatory properties which is the reason that might help reduce the swelling and pain of the gout.
Sour cherries also have the potential to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, limited research on these seasonal fruit indicates.
One should exercise caution while purchasing cherries from the market place. One needs to look out for the plump, firm fruit with green stems. Due to a relatively short season for both sweet and sour cherries, they can get spoiled at a relatively shorter period.