When we think of cherries, words like ‘sweet’ and ‘fresh’ most likely come to mind. They almost sound too good to be true, right? Well, we are here to tell you that the health benefits of rainier cherries make them that much more sweet to eat!
What Are Rainier Cherries?
Before we get into all the amazing health benefits the rainier cherry has to offer, let’s quickly talk background. This cherry is a cross between two other more well-known cherries, the ‘Van’ and the ‘Bing.’
The variety was developed in 1952 at Washington State University and got its name from Mount Rainier in Washington. The creation was an effort to extend the cherry season.
Rainier Cherry Health Benefits
Rainier cherries are an excellent source of potassium. And according to The American Heart Association, potassium reduces the risk of strokes and hypertension by lowering blood pressure and keeping the heart rhythm stable.
Research has also shown that drinking tart cherry juice can help lower cholesterol, which, in turn, reduces the risk of heart disease.
One study shows that cherries can reduce pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis, exercise, or any other illness or activity that can cause swelling.
That is because cherries contain polyphenols, which are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, teas, herbs, and spices. They are known to protect your cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
INTERESTING FACT: The activities of those phenolic compounds found in cherries can be compared to those of Ibuprofen and Naproxen.
Reduces Gout Attacks
In the United States alone, 8.3 million Americans suffer from inflammatory arthritis, also known as gout. This is a chronic illness that causes pain and swelling around the joints.
If you are one of the people suffering from this, you will be pleasantly surprised that a bowl of fresh cherries can be the answer to your prayers.
Studies show that increased consumption of cherries can reduce swelling in the joints and get rid of toxins faster, thus decreasing recurrent gout attacks by 35%, which is pretty impressive if you ask me!
Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals and damage vital cells which are responsible for many important processes in our bodies.
Sweet and sour cherries have been proven to reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, diabetes, certain cancers, and premature aging.
They do thanks to their high antioxidant levels which reduce oxidative stress, decrease damage to the molecules in our body, and promote overall better health and wellbeing.
Rainier Cherry Nutrition
In addition to all the above-mentioned health benefits of the rainier cherry, you may be surprised to find out that they are also an outstanding source of nutrients.
And although they are quite high in natural sugar, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay away from them. In fact, studies have shown that cherries may even provide beneficial glucose-lowering effects to those suffering from diabetes.
1 cup (140g) of rainier cherries contains:
- Calories: 90
- Sugars: 18.5g
- Total Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 0mg
- Potassium: 306mg
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 1.4g
- Vitamin A: 2%
- Vitamin C: 15%
- Calcium: 2%
- Iron: 2%
*Percentages are based on a diet of 2000 calories a day
As you may already know, these nutrients bring many incredible health benefits. Let’s break them down.
- Diets rich in fiber help maintain lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, and achieve a healthy weight.
- Calcium and Potassium are essential for normal cell function, muscle contraction, normal blood pressure, healthy bones. In addition, they help nerves send messages and blood to clot.
- Vitamin C is necessary for many body functions. It boosts collagen production, raises your immune system, helps enhance iron absorption, and much more.
- Vitamin A is important for your immune system, eye health, and reproductive systems.
- Iron is necessary to make hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles.
How To Enjoy Rainier Cherries
Now that we are familiar with some of the health benefits of rainier cherries, let’s talk about how and when is best to consume them.
Although cherries are the freshest during their season, they can be enjoyed at any point of the year. You can either buy them fresh and freeze them for later in the year, or look for pure tart cherry juice and dried or frozen cherries in your local supermarket.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “Do I really need a ‘how-to’ guide on how to consume cherries, when I can just throw them in a bowl?” Actually, no.
And we won’t be putting you through it this time. But we will give you a few ideas on where you can try adding them in case eating them from a bowl gets a bit boring.
You can include them in:
- Overnight oats
- Cakes, pies, and tarts
- Natural ice creams
- Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies
Rainier cherries may be small but they are mighty. Not only are they highly nutritious, but they also help us in so many ways – keeping our hearts healthy, fighting inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, and much more.
Adding Rainier cherries to your diet might seem like a small change right now but it can bring long-term benefits to your health. As we like to say, life is better with a cherry on top!
If you’re looking for another healthy fruit, check out our article about the health benefits of plums.