Top of the Leaderboard: Cherries

Satisfy a sweet tooth, while shedding strokes off your score, with cherries. A much healthier snack option, cherries are a top choice for fruit as they’re naturally low in sugar and loaded with antioxidants. They’re also a good source of potassium, quercetin, melatonin, fiber and vitamin C. The nutrients in cherries help cool inflammation, decrease post-round pain, decrease body fat, reduce jet lag, and promote restful sleep.

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Birdie Benefits

Anti-Inflammatory

Ditch the bottle of pills and pack of frozen peas! When it comes to fighting inflammation, tart cherries are the best club in your bag. Medical News Today says, “Tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food…” Cherries lower inflammation in the body by reducing uric acid, nitric oxide and C-reactive protein levels. If you’re suffering from any type of inflammation, such as joint pain, arthritis, autoimmune disease, heart disease, etc., then cherries are a food you definitely want to include.

Pain Reliever

Cherries can reduce post-workout and even post-round muscle inflammation, pain and soreness. For maximum benefits, add a dozen fresh/frozen tart cherries or 1 cup of tart cherry juice to your mid-round/post-round protein shake.

Maximize Metabolism

Consuming tart cherries may activate PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activating receptors) that support the metabolism of fat and glucose, which can reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Sleep Support

Pass on sleeping pills and boost melatonin levels naturally by enjoying a glass of tart cherry juice before bed. This may also improve sleep duration and quality, which is especially helpful for jet lag and travel.

Choose Like a Champ

With a short peak season, from May to July, finding fresh cherries can be challenging, but are well worth the flavor and nutrients. Frozen cherries or cherry juice are good options the rest of the year. Always buy organic cherries to reduce pesticides. Avoid canned, jarred and processed cherries with additives, coloring or sugars added. Keep dried cherries to a minimum due to their high sugar content.

How To Include

For maximum health benefits, eat 12 cherries or 1/2-1 cup of tart cherry juice daily. Enjoy cherries by the handful with almonds, blended in a protein shake or mixed with yogurt.

Post-Round Treat: Greek Yogurt Parfait

Prep: 5 minutes Serves 4
Ingredients

  • 16 ounces full-fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • To taste, stevia
  • 1/2 cup nuts/seeds or low-sugar granola
  • 2 cups frozen cherries
  • 1-2 servings protein powder (optional)

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, mix yogurt, cinnamon, stevia and protein powder.
  • Next, fill four tall glasses about 1/3 of the way with yogurt, layer 1/2 the fruit, then half the nuts.
  • Layer remaining yogurt, then fruit and nuts.
  • Place in the fridge. Allow at least 30 minutes for the fruit to defrost before enjoying.

Cate Ritter is a Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner for Cate’s Nutrition Kitchen The LEAN 18 & MTT Performance She can be reached at 480-321-6361 or email cate@thelean18.com

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