When I think of summer fruits, “sugar and spice and everything nice” comes to mind. However, that’s NOT the case with tart cherries! Unlike the sweet cherries that come mainly from the upper West Coast, tart cherries are grown primarily in the Northeast.
Since we were children, we viewed cherries as a bonus, a reward. (Remember asking “pretty please with a cherry on top?”) But there’s nothing extra about it; tart cherries should be an essential component of your diet. Plant compounds known as phenolics are abundant in tart cherries, giving the fruit valuable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
One of the primary phenolics is anthocyanin, which assists in the blocking of inflammation-cauing enzymes. The darker the cherry, the more anthocyanin it is believed to contain. Anthocyanin’s benefits are believed to extend to the reduction of conditions such as gout, arthritis, and other neurodegenerative conditions.
Although phenolics are present in sweet cherries as well, tart cherries are thought to contain greater amounts of the compound while also containing less sugars. Either way, both types of cherries are thought to have much greater concentrations of these kinds of phenolics than other fruits.
Cherries are always available, no matter the season, so why not give the tart cherry a try? They’re easy to add to cereals and oatmeals, salads, desserts, and even smoothies and juices. Look for frozen tart cherries in the frozen foods section of the grocery store and make one of my favorite smoothies.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie
1/2 cup tart cherries
1 cup 1 % organic milk
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
Blend and enjoy this yummy treat!
Have you tried tart cherries?
Assistance provided by Pam Majumdar