Walk into the produce section of any supermarket from June to August and bright red cherries greet you. On a recent visit, 3 people were discussing how sweet cherries were going to cure their arthritis and joint pains. Such was the announcement on a recent news program citing a poorly designed USDA research study funded by the California Cherry Advisory Board.
Oh how I wish sweet cherries could be that healthy! They do provide Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. The red color in both sweet and tart cherries provides anthocyanins which have been associated with inflammation reduction.
Montmorency cherries produced in the Traverse City area of Michigan are the most studied tart cherries in North America. You can buy a tart cherry concentrate from Stanton Orchards and do your own research on whether it reduces gout pains, but don’t give up your medication.
Tart cherries have 6 phenolic acids called polyphenols that are known for reducing chronic pain, including chlorogenic acid which is also found in coffee beans. A major coffee house is currently researching chlorogenic acid and ellagic acid for nutritional benefits. According to the Red Report from the Cherry Marketing Institute, Lansing , Michigan 50 scientific studies have shown many nutrition benefits for tart cherries.
Sweet cherries have less nutrients than tart cherries but both kinds have a significant impact on melatonin production to help you sleep. My favorite way to use sweet cherries is to have a bedtime snack of Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding instead of a heaping dish of ice cream.
CHOCOLATE CHERRY BREAD PUDDING
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups dried bread cubes
4 ounces chopped dark chocolate or 1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped fresh cherries
4 tablespoons plain yogurt
Combine eggs, honey, coconut milk and cinnamon in bowl. Beat thoroughly. Pour over bread cubes in 9 inch square lightly oiled casserole dish. sprinkle on chocolate and cherries. Bake in 325 degree oven 20-25 minutes, or until brown around edges.
Makes 4 servings.
One serving = 172 calories
Protein 3 gm
CHO 22 gm
Fat 5 gm
Sodium 305 mg