Top 10 Health Benefits of Cherries: A True Superfruit

Cherries are a nutritional powerhouse fruit with so many incredible health benefits. One cup of raw cherries has 87 calories, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Enjoy them now while they are at their peak because their season is way too short.  Read on for some of the great health benefits of eating cherries.

 

Ten Great Health Benefits of Eating Cherries

1. Cherries, known as a “super-fruit”, are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins which aid in the reduction of heart disease and cancer.

2. Cherries are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles.

3. Cherries are an excellent source of beta carotene (vitamin A). In fact they contain 19 times more beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries.

4. Cherries are rich in vitamins C, E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber.

5. Cherries are referred to as “brain food”, aiding in brain health and in the prevention of memory loss.

6. Because cherries contain anthocyanins, they can reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis and gout.

7. Eating cherries reduces the risk of diabetes.

8. Cherries are a good source of fiber which is important for digestive health.

9. Cherries are a great snack or dessert choice important for weight-maintenance.

10. Because of their powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, cherries are said to reduce pain and joint soreness for runners and athletes after workouts.

Celebrate Mardi Gras: Healthy Hurricane

Mardi Gras 2011 is this Tuesday, March 8.  Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday”, is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The Hurricane is a fruit-colored relative of the “daiquiri”, and it’s credited to New Orleans tavern owner Pat O’Brien. In the 1940s, he created the fruity concoction and served it in hurricane-lamp-shaped glasses to give away to sailors. The drink caught on, and it has been a mainstay in the French Quarter in New Orleans ever since. My version of the Healthy Hurricane is filled with fresh fruit juices, making it perfect for kids to enjoy. If you want an alcoholic version, see the note about how much rum to add.

Chocolate-Pistachio and Cherry Bark

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Last week I posted White Chocolate, Pistachio and Cherry Bark, and it was an instant hit. For those of you who don’t love white chocolate or who may want to give a gift combination of white and dark chocolate, here is the option of using semisweet or dark chocolate. The recipe worked great (the dark chocolate is my favorite), and is so easy that it doesn’t seem possible it could taste this delicious. Enjoy, but beware…it is very addictive!

Dried Cherry and Pistachio Bark

Feel free to double or triple this recipe. To see White Chocolate version, see last weeks post.

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 1 minute

Yield: 11/2 pound

Ingredients

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet or dark chocolate morsels or chunks

1 cup pistachio nuts, shells removed and toasted

1 cup dried cherries or cranberries (or half-and-half)

Preparation

1. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, covered with wax paper on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Add pistachios and cherries, stirring well. Spread on large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

2. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Break bark into pieces. Store in a tightly sealed container in refrigerator up to 1 month. Pack in decorative boxes or tins lined with wax tissue paper or colored cellophane for gift giving.

Homemade Christmas Gifts-White Chocolate, Pistachio and Cherry Bark

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Everyone loves white chocolate bark during the holidays, but this version has a twist with pistachios and dried cherries which gives it a sweet and salty taste with a crunch. This recipe is so easy and takes no time at all. Be sure to purchase already shelled pistachio nuts in the nut section of your local grocery store. You may also substitute sliced almonds for the pistachios and dried cranberries for the cherries (sometimes dried cherries are hard to find). If you give these as gifts, make sure you put a note on the gift tag to keep the bark refrigerated until ready to enjoy, but up to one month for best flavor.


Dried Cherry and Pistachio Bark

Feel free to double or triple this recipe.

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 1 minute

Yield: 11/2 pound

Ingredients

1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels or any white chocolate

1 cup pistachio nuts, shells removed and toasted

1 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Preparation

1. Place white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, covered with wax paper on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Add pistachios and cherries, stirring well. Spread on large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

2. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Break bark into pieces. Store in a tightly sealed container in refrigerator up to 1 month. Pack in decorative boxes or tins lined with wax tissue paper or colored cellophane for gift giving.