Steve Frost

Cherry season usually starts in late spring and goes through most of the summer, ending in July or August depending on the cherry. Fresh local cherries not only taste better but they come with more nutrients than do those that are shipped from far away.

Cherries are lower in calories than most other fruits, but still have high sugar content so don’t go overboard.

Tart cherries and sweet cherries have many of the same health benefits but each have different elements that contribute to better health.

The rich color of the sweet cherry is a symbol of its nutrient-rich components. Anthocyanin glycosides  have anti-inflammatory properties that are strong enough to fight against some major ailments like arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, anthocyanins and cyanidin all help to fight against cancer in a major way. The high content of potassium in sweet cherries has been shown to fight against hypertension and stroke.

Research has shown that tart cherries are especially good for you. Cancer fighting elements including Perillyl alcohol that stops the growth of cancer and ellagic acid that has been found to potentially be the most potent cancer fighting agent are both in this flavorful fruit.  Flavonoids isoqueritrin and queritrin have also been found in tart cherries which help with stress and as a result slowdown the aging process. Anthocyannins, found in tart cherries, are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant containing plant pigments. They can have similar effects as ibuprofen and aspirin.

Both tart cherries and sweet cherries are high in melatonin which has been shown to help with sleeping and headaches.