Food

3 winning ways of sweet Northwest cherries

(BPT) – Summer brings an abundance of fresh fruits to local markets, and competition can be fierce for a place in a shopper’s cart. When it comes to choosing a nourishing snack, bringing home sweet Northwest cherries is like bringing home the gold, every time.

As the eyes of the world turn to competitions in Paris, growers in the U.S. will be focusing on harvesting heaps of luscious sweet cherries from farms throughout the Northwest. Available fresh for a limited time during the summer months, these delectable fruits deliver fiber and essential vitamins and minerals — like vitamin C and potassium. Plus, they have lesser-known attributes that bring them to the top of the podium when it comes to keeping a body well fueled, rested and recovered.

1. Steady fuel when on-the-go

Despite their sweet taste (and name), sweet Northwest cherries are actually ranked among low glycemic index fruits, and their glycemic load is nominal. Like other fruits, sweet Northwest cherries have natural sugars, or carbohydrates, but what makes them stand out is that when those carbohydrates are converted into glucose by the body, it happens slowly. And that allows blood sugar levels to stay relatively steady, so consumers don’t experience sugar spikes followed by energy crashes.

2. Natural aid for sleep

Sweet Northwest cherries are a natural source of compounds that are critical to regulating sleep, including melatonin, serotonin and tryptophan. When present together, these three elements can help improve the quantity and quality of sleep. Just one serving, or about one cup, of sweet cherries about an hour before bedtime can aid a more restful night. Some studies show that consumers don’t just benefit from better sleep; they may also find that their mood and mental health improve.

3. Flavorful boost for exercise recovery

Sweet Northwest cherries can attribute their deep, dark color to pigments called anthocyanins. These and other phenolic compounds in cherries are associated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and research suggests that athletes who consume cherries experience improved recovery after workouts. Studies show that one serving after exercise has been linked to decreased muscle soreness and a quicker rebound in strength.

Sweet Northwest cherries for the win

Beyond their role in keeping bodies fueled, rested and recovered, sweet Northwest cherries can do much more in a balanced diet. Keeping fresh cherries on hand for snacking in summer can also help support the immune system, manage blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

Although the fresh cherry season is short, the benefits of this wholesome food can be accessed any time — drying, canning and freezing this fruit at its peak can preserve its goodness for year-round enjoyment.

More information about the many health benefits of sweet Northwest cherries can be found at nwcherries.com.

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