A Bowl Of Tart CherriesCherries indeed appear cute and small in size. But truth be told, this petite fruit contains a lot of nutritional benefits that would rather seem impossible for a fruit so small!

One of the healthy compounds that cherries contain is anthocyanin, which gives cherries their beautiful and very appetizing color. Also, it functions as a 'sunscreen' to protect the fruit from radicals that come from UV light. However, to our benefit, anthocyanins are not solely responsible to the appearance of the fruit; they also provide the eaters a vast amount of antioxidants that make one healthier and more resistant to diseases.

Antioxidants found in cherries are very important for our system. Antioxidants are a group of different chemicals that are naturally found in vegetables, fruits and plants. In general, they have a multitude of health benefits. For instance, eating antioxidant-rich food can delay the aging process. Oxygen radicals and oxygen reactive species, which antioxidants consume and deactivate, are known to cause cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and aging-related conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Antioxidant strength is measured in ORAC units. ORAC, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, measures the amount of oxygen radicals that is being absorbed and deactivated by a certain antioxidant-containing food. Nutritionists suggest that an individual should consume 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units a day to make his immune system more resilient to diseases. But did you know that an ounce of cherry juice concentrate is equivalent to 2,662 ORAC units ― which is just enough for a single day requirement? And did you also know that a handful of dried cherries contains 6,800 ORAC units ― which is even more than the suggested quota?

Melatonin, a naturally occurring compound that is typically found in plants, animals and microbes, is also present in cherries. This compound is very helpful for people who are having a hard time to go to sleep and those who are finding it difficult to sustain a long sleep without being disturbed by even the slightest sound or the thinnest light. Experts suggest that people with insomnia and jet lag should take at least 30 dried cherries before going to bed in order to regulate their sleep. There are also reports that cherries can increase the vividness of one's dreams and can prevent violent nightmares during sleep. Melatonin is used as well to strengthen the immune system in treating Parkinson's disease.

Additionally, cherries are calorie-low, potassium-high, and fiber-rich, with zero levels of cholesterol, sodium and fat. That is why cherries are good for people who want to lose some weight but do not want to undergo painful, risky methods. And let's not forget that you can eat dried cherries all year long - not only during summer. The health benefits of dried cherries are as powerful as those of fresh fruits. Just make sure, before purchasing, that the dried cherries are natural and do not contain dangerous chemicals and preservatives.

Cherries, being a Wonder Fruit in the field of nutrition, are also a Marvel in terms of dining. They can be eaten fresh, dried, or as an ingredient in delicious cookies, pies, salads and meat stuffing. And these are not complicated recipes! In fact, anyone who is explorative and imaginative can make cherry recipes on their own.

Undeniably, with cherries, one does not only satisfy his health; he also gratifies his delicate taste buds.