Cherries are beautiful fruits, there’s no arguing this. They are lusciously red, plump but firm, and are the perfect balance of sweet and tart. All cherries are ripened on the tree, which means that they are also freshly picked all the time.
Cherries are also beautiful in the nutritional aspect. They are considered as a nutrient dense food which means that it has a relatively low caloric content while containing significant amounts of nutritional components. These include fiber, polyphenols, carotenoids, vitamin C and potassium. In addition, cherries are also a good source of tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin, all of which play a huge role for brain health.
These compounds found in dark sweet cherries provide beneficial effects to the following diseases and conditions:
- Blood pressure. Polyphenols and anthocyanins in red cherries help reduce high blood pressure by helping our blood vessels relax.
- Cancer. Phenolic compounds and perillyl alcohol found in red cherries raises the fruit’s anti-carcinogenic activity. These compounds appear to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells in the breast, colon, pancreas, skin, and lungs.
- Cardiovascular Disease. Anthocyanins in cherries have an antioxidant effect that helps neutralize free radical action on lipids (fats) in our bloodstream. This action protects cardiovascular tissue from cell damage and degeneration.
- Cognitive Function. Anthocyanin helps protect brain cells from stress-induced inflammation. This results in beneficial effects on cognitive decline and neurodegeneration associated with aging.
- Diabetes. Cherry extracts reduce glucose blood levels and protect beta-cells from free radical attack. This allows beta-cells to continue producing balanced levels of insulin.
- Gout. Consumption of cherries can significantly lessen uric acid levels in the bloodstream. Less uric acid means less crystallization and a huge help in managing gout.
- Inflammation. Eating cherries significantly decrease plasma concentrations of proinflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein and nitrous oxide. Less inflammation in the body means a lower risk for diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer and hypertension.
- Sleep. Cherries contain tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin which interact to promote regular sleep cycles.
- Stress. Polyphenols in sweet cherries help protect nerve cells from free radical damage; while serotonin helps reduce stress and improve moods
Now those are some big-time health benefits! I didn’t want to miss out so I went ahead and made a healthy, balanced, and cherrylicious snack. My recipe requires zero baking and is freezer-safe cause I want to enjoy these cherry snacks for a long time!
Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash
Cherry Chocolate Bliss Balls
Step 1. Gather the following ingredients:
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 ½ cups chopped fresh cherries
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter, not sweet
- ½ cup ground flax seed
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup honey
Step 2. Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix them all together with a big spoon or spatula.
Note: I suggest you don’t use a stand/hand mixer. This is a really sticky mixture and might only end up as a giant rotating blob in the bowl.
Step 3. When you are satisfied with how thoroughly the ingredients are mixed together, take an ice cream scoop to divide the mixture into similarly sized balls.
Cover your work surface with wax paper and scoop the mixture onto it for a quick clean-up.
Step 4. With clean hands, roll each mound into a sphere and dredge it with chia seeds to prevent them from sticking into each other.
Alternatively, you may use crushed nuts, oats, graham flour, or cocoa powder for this step.
That’s it! Store your Chocolate Chia Bliss Balls in the fridge and consume within 10 days. Or seal them in an airtight container and freeze them indefinitely – as long as your freezer works fine and you do not defrost it.
Consuming fresh cherries provides our body with many essential nutrients and helpful phytochemicals. It contains polyphenols, anthocyanin, tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin that provide tremendous benefits for preventing and managing stress, inflammation, and a host of lifestyle diseases.
This post is sponsored by Northwest Cherries Philippines (@nwcherriesphl on Facebook and Instagram).
Northwest Cherries are available only a few months a year (June to August). The dark sweet and yellow cherries are recognized throughout the world for their sweetness, firmness, and consistency in color. They are offered by online fruit sellers and are also found in the produce section of supermarkets nationwide.
You can order cherries by the box and support a cause at the same time. With Cherries For Charity, $1 worth of Northwest Cherries will be donated to medical front liners for every box purchased. Click here to order: https://bit.ly/3wRaupr.