Cherries are a power food that can help you sleep and maybe even aid in muscle recovery. So…why aren’t you eating more of them again?
Marissa Lippert, R.D. 1 / 6
<p>Sweet, tart and ruby red, you could almost liken cherries to nature’s candy. And if you’ve got a serious <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/craving-sweets">sweet tooth</a>, they’re one candy you <em>should</em> be indulging in much more frequently—and here’s why:</p>
<li>One cup of cherries has about 260 mg of <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/foods-with-potassium">p... (nearly that of a small banana), which helps keep blood pressure in check.</li>
<li>Cherries also contain good amounts the antioxidants of quercetin and anthocyanin, which help protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease.</li>
<li>A <a href="http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/17">recent study</a> in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that runners who downed 24 ounces of tart cherry juice for 7 days leading up to a race noted significantly lower amounts of muscle pain <em>and</em> a faster recovery.</li>
<li>Cherries may <em>also</em> (no, we’re not done yet) help you sleep more soundly given their melatonin content—though you might still have that pesky snoring issue to tackle<em><em>.</em></em></li>
<li>Finally, they pack a good dose of dietary fiber to keep you maintain a healthy weight…and functioning digestive system. (Enough said).</li>
<p>Convinced? Here are five easy ways to work more of these bite-size fruits into your diet.</p>
<h3><font color=”red” font family=“Arial”>Have a Healthy Snack</font></h3>
Fresh and simple: Just wash and pop them in a small bowl for a healthy, low-calorie snack or mix them into Greek yogurt with some crunchy nuts for a guilt-free dessert.
<h3><font color=”red” font family=“Arial”>Make A More Interesting Salad</font></h3>
Impress a date, or your mom, and toss fresh cherries into salad to give it a bit of unexpected bite. One Iron-Chef-worthy idea: A spinach salad with a bit of goat cheese and some toasted pecans.
<h3><font color=”red” font family=“Arial”>Create A Creative Salsa</font></h3>
Continue living out that Iron Chef fantasy and create a quick salsa that serves as the perfect topping on steak or grilled salmon, tuna or shrimp. Cherry-peach actually works nicely—just dice the fruit and some red onion, then mix it in with cilantro and lime juice.
<h3><font color=”red” font family=“Arial”>Build A Better Breakfast</font></h3>
When it comes to tossing fruit into your morning whole-grain cereal or yogurt , you’re probably most likely to reach for berries or bananas—but don’t count cherries out. Just pick up some unsweetened dried cherries or invest in a cherry pitter: it's cheap and easy to use—and pretty fun to watch it pop out the pits in two seconds flat.
<h3><font color=”red” font family=“Arial”>Mix a Fresh Cocktail</font></h3>
To celebrate the end of a long work week, move on from Iron Chef to bartender extraordinaire. (Didn't expect this one, huh?) Steep fresh cherries in a bit of brandy to create the best Manhattan cocktail you’ve ever had. Use your favorite whiskey, a touch of sweet vermouth, a dash of angostura bitters….and that incredible cherry garnish, of course.