They say that fruits are nature’s candy. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a bowl of cherries on a lazy summer afternoon, especially when you learn how great they are for your body. Cherries are delicious, satisfying, and packed with fiber. They are also rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that protect the body from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. While more studies need to be conducted, experts have already learned a great deal of promising information about what these antioxidants can do for our bodies. Specifically, it has been suggested that a diet rich in antioxidants helps to promote health by protecting us from the effects of oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
All About Antioxidants: What is Oxidative Stress?
The term “free radical” sounds a bit scary, but free radicals actually play a role in a natural daily process known as oxidation or oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when unstable free-radical molecules are created during the body’s natural processes, such as turning the foods we eat into energy for our cells. They also occur when the body interacts with pollutants or experiences physical or emotional stress.
And though we need a small amount of free radicals for normal body function, too many can overwhelm the system. The key then is to avoid an overexposure to free radicals. You can do so by using natural cleaners around the house to avoid toxic chemicals and spending time in the woods or other places that offer fresh, unpolluted air. Another way to protect your body from free radicals is to consume plenty of antioxidants in the form of cherries and other fresh fruits and vegetables.
All About Cherries: What Are The Different Varieties?
There are many types of cherries, but they can generally be divided into two categories: tart and sweet. Sweet cherries usually have darker skins, but there are lighter varieties as well. This is the type of cherry most commonly found in supermarkets. Tart cherries, which are also referred to as sour cherries, are generally used for pie filling, cherry flavoring, and other applications. But they can be enjoyed as a snack as well. Some cherries offer more antioxidant power than others, but eating a varied diet filled with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables is always your best bet to stay healthy.
Some delicious and fun ways to enjoy cherries include:
- Munching on the fresh variety as a snack.
- Sprinkling the dried version in your oatmeal, your pancake batter, or on top of your cereal.
- Blending them with milk, ice, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and a bit of pineapple for an antioxidant-rich smoothie.
- Using them to make a tart sauce for turkey or pork.
- Adding them to fresh salads for a tart and tangy twist.
Antioxidant Power: What Specific Antioxidants Are Found In Cherries?
Cherries contain anthocyanins, which are a powerful natural antioxidant. Anthocyanins are pigments that create the red, blue, and orange colors in plant foods. They can help reduce oxidative stress in the body. Tart cherries in particular are known for having very high levels of anthocyanins. In fact, they rank at position 14 out of 50 in the list of foods with the highest antioxidant content per serving, beating out red wine, dark chocolate, and even blueberries. All of these foods are well-known nutritional powerhouses.
The Importance of Variety: Can You Benefit From Cherries Alone?
There are over 4,000 known flavonoid antioxidants. Flavonoids are phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables, including cherries. They are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables and they function as antioxidants. Science doesn’t currently have a full grasp on how exactly it all works, but researchers do know that anthocyanins never function alone. Instead, they work with other flavonoid antioxidants and phytochemicals to become more potent and help the body in various ways. For this reason, it’s crucial to avoid a limited diet and instead attempt to incorporate as many types of colorful fruits and vegetables into your meals as you can.
If you’re new to healthy eating, try adding in a new recipe each week. If there’s a food you didn’t like in the past, try preparing it in a new way to see if that changes your taste. For example, if you don’t like steamed broccoli, try stir-frying it in oil and spices instead. When it comes to cherries, try using them in different recipes mixed with a variety of other fruits. The more colorful and constantly evolving your diet is, the greater chance it will benefit your long-term health.
In Conclusion: Is There Another Way to Enhance Your Antioxidant Levels?
Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is always a good thing, but no one can maintain a perfect diet at all times. For that reason, it’s important to have a backup plan. Protandim® Nrf2 Synergizer™* by LifeVantage is another excellent way to support your body’s natural antioxidant defenses. Whether you add it in on top of a great diet or use it to boost yourself up on a bad day, it has the antioxidant power your body needs to help fight off any unwelcome free radicals.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
* The views expressed in this article are those of the author
s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LifeVantage or any other agency, organization, employer or company
** LifeVantage’s Marketing team may from time to time publish blog articles reporting information and research from third-party sources. The views and opinions expressed by these third-party sources as reported in LifeVantage blog articles are those of the authors and experts quoted therein and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LifeVantage.