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Weight-Loss Software > Cherries Health Benefits

Cherries' Health Benefits

By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Founder and Editor-In-Chief*Cherries

I sometimes wonder why we didn't use a cherry as DietPower's logo, instead of an apple. Cherries are a lot richer in certain nutrients. Compared with an apple of the same weight, a cupful of cherries contains twice as much calcium, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. It also delivers more dietary fiber and vitamins C and E.

Most important, cherries are loaded with anthocyanins—renowned givers of youth and longevity.

This isn't pie in the sky. All of the cherries' health benefits identified below rest on double-blind, decades-long, placebo-controlled studies of large populations, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Anthocyanins are the compounds that make cherries red. They are also powerful antioxidants, which slow aging and promote longevity by cleaning up mistakes that genes make during cell growth and replication. This confers a major health benefit: intercepting cancer. Few fruits are richer in anthocyanins than cherries. (You'll get more from blueberries, Concord grapes, and black raspberries—but wouldn't you rather eat cherries?)

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Calcium is the body's most abundant mineral, comprising 2 percent of our weight. Known chiefly for building bones and teeth, it also figures heavily in blood clotting, muscle contraction, and nerve communication. As you probably know, a shortage can lead to osteoporosis, hip fracture, and in some cases, death.

Magnesium is important to building bones, creating protein, conducting nerve signals, and helping the body adapt to cold weather. (It's interesting that one of cherries' health benefits is helping you feel warm in winter.)

Zinc helps to build more than 100 enzymes, maintain the structure of proteins, and regulate gene expression. A deficiency slows wound healing, dulls the sense of taste, and kills appetite. In pregnant women, it can also bring about abnormal development of the fetal brain. (In other words, you may owe part of your intelligence to the cherries your mom ate.)

Potassium is a leading player in cherries' health benefits. It regulates your water balance, transmits nerve impulses, and triggers muscle contractions. It also reduces blood pressure. Most of us get less than half the U.S. Adequate Intake of 4700 milligrams per day. (To get that much, you'd have to eat eight cherry pies—but a piece of pie isn't a bad start!)

Download DietPower free trialDietary fiber is valuable for at least three reasons: 1) it wards off stroke and heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol, 2) it stimulates elimination of wastes that may be a culprit in colon cancer, and 3) it may promote better weight control.

Vitamin C is highly important to cherries' health benefits. It plays a role in building bone and connective tissue, certain hormones, and substances that transmit nerve impulses. It also helps the body absorb iron, the liver detoxify dangerous chemicals, and white blood cells fight infection. Like anthocyanins (see above), it acts as an antioxidant.

Vitamin E, too, functions as an antioxidant. It also strengthens immunity in the elderly.

In short, cherries help you stand up straight and live a long and wide-awake life. Cherries' health benefits are legion. Eat lots of cherries!

*Terry Dunkle is a 30-year veteran medical journalist who serves as CEO and chief editor at DietPower, Inc., a leading developer of weight-loss software and medical news and features.

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Copyright © 1992-2016 by DietPower, Inc., 7 Kilian Drive, Danbury, CT 06811. Phone 800-852-8446. All rights reserved. The name DietPower and the apple and runner symbols are trademarks of DietPower, Inc. Information on this site is meant to increase your awareness of the importance of nutrition to health. It is not meant to substitute for the advice of a health professional.

Last modified September 8, 2010

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