When it comes to cute, cherries are up there with kittens and tiny Japanese erasers. Cherries have always been one of my favorite things to eat, and as a former champion of Ms. Pacman, I have fond memories of fleeing ghosts in hot pursuit of bouncing cherries and bonus points.
Cherries, it turns out, have real-life bonus points too. A recent study out of the University of Michigan indicates that eating one and a half servings of tart cherries could significantly boost antioxidant activity in the body.
Previous studies in animals have demonstrated that a cherry-enriched diet can lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce triglycerides, reduce body weight, and the belly fat which is associated with increased heart disease risk and type 2 diabetes.
And here’s more good news about cherries for athletes and long distance runners like my husband, Mike: Research from Oregon Health & Science University revealed that runners who drank cherry juice twice a day for seven days prior to and on the day of a long-distance relay had significantly less muscle pain following the race than those who drank another fruit juice beverage. Researchers believe cherries’ post-exercise benefits are likely because of the fruit’s natural anti-inflammation properties.
Most importantly for diabetics, cherries are low in carbohydrates. One cup of fresh cherries has 20-25 grams of carbohydrates (depending on how sweet they are). They also have a low glycemic index. Summer is peak season for cherries, so open-wide like Ms Pac-Man and indulge. Cherries make a perfect snack or dessert. No sweetener necessary.