The British cherry season might not begin until June, but that doesn’t stop July 16 being National Cherry Day.

So it’s time to hang the bunting and celebrate the wonder fruit which not only tastes delicious but is also rather good for us too.

“All cherries provide substantial quantities of antioxidants and other nutrients,” explains nutritionist Christine Bailey.

“But tart cherries deliver a much greater content of various anthocyanins than sweet cherries, as well as higher amounts of other phenolic compounds and other nutrients.”

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And that’s not all the cherry can do…

Cherries can lower cholesterol levels

Because cherries contain a compound called phytosterols, they’ll help improve your immune system and lower bad cholesterol levels.

Cherries have anti-inflammatory benefits 

Anthocyanins are one of nature’s most potent classes of flavonoids. “In fact,” says Bailey, “tart cherries in a study were ranked 14th among the top 50 foods for highest antioxidant content per serving - higher than well-known antioxidant sources as red wine and dark chocolate. 

“Like other anthocyanin-rich foods, tart cherries have been shown to deliver substantial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.”

Cherries contain fibre

If you’re sick of bowls of bran then add a handful of cherries to your diet – just 10 cherries will give you nearly 10% of an adult’s recommended daily allowance of fibre.

Cherries are full of potassium

Potassium will help reduce the risk of strokes and hypertension, help keep your heart and kidneys working well and will also regulate your heart rate and blood pressure. And cherries have lots of potassium.

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Cherries will help you sleep

If you find it hard to nod off, then instead of reaching for sleeping pills, try grabbing a handful of cherries instead. They contain melatonin – a hormone that helps regulate sleep patterns.

Cherries top up your vitamin levels

Packed with an array of vitamins including vitamins A, B6, C and K, cherries will easily help you hit your daily vitamin target.

Cherries are great for exercise recovery

“In studies, runners who drank tart cherry juice experienced a substantially smaller pain increase after the race” says Bailey.

“Tart cherry juice was shown to reduce acute muscle soreness, pain and muscle damage after exercise. Drinking tart cherry juice can be a great way to improve recovery and get the most out of your workout.”

For more info on cherries visit Seasonal Berries.