Can’t Sleep? Eat This And Sleep The Sleep Of Angels
We all know that it’s important to have a balanced diet. We can’t just eat mounds and mounds of cake and ice cream morning, noon and night. We’d die. And yes, it certainly would be a glorious death, we want to live, so we have to throw in some proteins, veggies and fruits every so often. And by “every so often,” we mean at least a few times each and every single day. And these essentials aren’t just good for keeping us from ceasing to exist, they can also make us feel a lot better, too.
Did you know that if you have some particular ailments you don’t need to immediately seek out the expensive drugs advertised on infomercials? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of improving your diet. They say that “fruits are nature’s candies,” but they can also be nature’s remedies if you know the right one to choose. And there’s one particular fruit that can help with a whole slew of issues…
Cherries are one of the most delicious fruits out there. Need proof? You don’t see anyone putting a kumquat on top of ice cream sundaes, do you?
And being a fruit, you probably realize that cherries are good for you, but you may not realize just how good.
Jill Keene, a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer in New York City says, “Cherries supply a good source of fiber and are rich in health-promoting antioxidants.” But they can also be used to target specific ailments…
Having trouble sleeping at night? Unless it’s your conscience keeping you up obsessing over something terrible you’ve done, cherries can help.
They’re a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that your body releases at night that helps you wind down and drift off.
In a study on older adults, people who drank two eight-ounce glasses of cherry juice per day slept a full 85 minutes longer compared to a placebo.
Cherry juice is delicious and it helps you get more sleep? What’s the catch? Well… there is a catch: cherries do so much more than just that.
“Cherries contain anti-inflammatory antioxidant compounds that research shows can help support muscle recovery after a hard workout,” says Keene.
A study published in the European Journal of Sports Science in 2019 on 20 women found that cherry concentrate lead to less muscle soreness post-workout and may even help you recover faster!
Better sleep and better workouts? Check. But we’ve only just begun, because cherries can improve your overall health as well.
One of the top threats to your health is inflammation, as it increases the likelihood of developing chronic disease.
What can help? You guessed it. Cherries are loaded with antioxidants like vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoids and polyphenols, all of which are essential in helping neutralize inflammation in your body.
Okay, so cherries are awesome, but eating a ton can’t be that good for you, right? After all, they are very sweet.
Wouldn’t that mess with your blood sugar? Well… apparently not. Keene explained that, “Cherries are lower on the glycemic index, meaning they spike your blood sugar less than many other fruits.”
In fact, a review on 29 studies on the benefits of cherries, researchers found that the fruit lowered HbA1c levels (a measurement of average blood sugar over a period of three months) in those who had type 2 diabetes.
Best of all? Not only will this not mess with your blood sugar, but it can actually help you lose weight.
One cup of fresh cherries has 100 calories and three grams of fiber. While these fruits are higher in sugar, there’s no reason to fear them.
In fact, the opposite is true. They’re full of fiber, and eating more fiber via fruit is a good thing. According to research in the Annals of Internal Medicine, increasing fiber intake is associated with weight loss.
Okay, so now (we hope) you’re super on board with consuming cherries. What’s the best way to go about it?
While cherry juice is delicious, it has a lot more sugar than the fruit itself, and also no fiber.
If you have a hard time keeping them fresh, you can always freeze them. Eating a frozen cherry on a warm day is an exquisite treat, and best of all, it will help you sleep better at night. That’s cool on many levels.
Let’s say you have a hard time eating fruit by itself. What’s the best thing to pair it with?
According to Keene, the answer is almonds. She says, “I recommend pairing fruit with a source of protein or fat to stabilize blood sugar.”
Besides working wonders on your health, they’re also a dreamy match in your palate. Try cherries with almonds, pistachios or even throw some cheese in there if you’re not afraid of dairy. It’s practically a meal in a snack.
Speaking of meals, here’s one that’s absolutely delicious and crazy helpful to maintaining your good health.
Get yourself a piece (or two or three) of multigrain toast and slather on some all natural peanut, almond or cashew butter. Whichever you prefer.
Then, add some pitted cherry halves. And if you’re feeling crazy, top it all off with some Greek yogurt. This gives you all the benefits we learned about by pairing cherries with almonds and will also fill you up in a satisfying way.
Top Overnight Oats
We all know about putting a cherry on top of cake or ice cream, but here’s the healthy version of that.
Keene recommends making a batch of creamy overnight oats and then topping it with pitted cherry halves in the morning.
You can also throw on a few frozen cherries, since they’ll defrost enough overnight. Seems like we should all add frozen cherries to our grocery list before we go shopping. Here’s another excellent use for frozen cherries in your life…
Yup. When you need nutrients quick or on the go, smoothies are your answer, and cherries are the best ingredient for them.
Best of all, when you use frozen cherries in the blender, you won’t even need ice. This means the flavor won’t be watered down at all.
You’ll get more flavor in each and every sip. Try a frozen cherry smoothie with a coconut water, milk, or go with almond milk and a dollop of a nut butter for a PB and J-inspired smoothie.
And if you want to throw in some other fruits, whether in your smoothie or diet, here are some of the healthiest choices.
Grapefruit is a good source of vitamins and minerals, also aids in weight loss and reduces insulin resistance.
Don’t take our word for it: a study in 91 people, those who ate half a fresh grapefruit before meals lost 2.9 pounds more weight than those who didn’t. In the same study, the grapefruit group also had a significant reduction in insulin levels and reduced insulin resistance.
When you learn how great pineapple is for you, it may finally settle the debate once and for all on whether or not it belongs on pizza.
The correct answer is it belongs on everything. One cup of pineapple provides 131% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C and 76% of the RDI for manganese.
Pineapple also contains bromelain, a mixture of enzymes known for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to digest protein. Test-tube and animal studies even suggest that bromelain may help protect against cancer and tumor growth.
Those are some super foods. But when it comes to the term “super food,” one of the first ones that comes to mind is avocados.
Avocado is a very different kind of fruit. Most fruits are high in carbs, while avocado is low in carbs and comprised mainly of healthy fats.
The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat linked to reduced inflammation and better heart health. In addition to healthy fats, avocados are also loaded with potassium and fiber.
Cherry On Top
So there you go! Fruits really are nature’s super foods. But what type of cherries are best, and when should you get them?
Cherry season is at its height from June through August. And want to become a cherry expert? Here’s some additional knowledge for ya:
You can buy two types: sweet (Bing) and tart or sour. Sweet are usually a deep red color, while tart has a lighter red or even yellow hue. You can also buy maraschino cherries… but we don’t think they have quite the nutritional benefit of fresh ones.