National Cherry Day is celebrated on July 16 to raise awareness about the health benefits of cherries, one of the most popular fruit in the United States.

Cherries that were native to Europe were introduced to the United States by early settlers in the 1600s. Modern-day cherry production in the United States began in 1852 and commercial tart cherry orchards were planted in Michigan in 1893. Today, around 94% of cherries consumed in the U.S. are grown in Michigan.

It is estimated that in a year, more than 2,000,000 tons of cherries are produced all over the world. Cherries are grown across all areas of the world where winter temperatures are not too severe and summer temperatures are moderate. Iran, the U.S.A., Turkey, Italy, Germany, Spain, Lebanon, Rumania, France and the Russian Federation are the top 10 countries that produce cherries.

This vibrant fruit can be consumed fresh or can be turned into jams, juices, pies, sauces and even grilled. Cooked or fresh cherries can be used in icecreams and deserts, the possibilities are endless.

Cherries are not only delicious but they are packed with nutrients and minerals. Here are some amazing health benefits of the fruit that will encourage you to include them in your diet.

cherries-2402449_640 Representational image Photo: pixabay

1. Improves Heart Health-  Researchers have found out that a diet rich in fruits helps to protect the heart. Cherries are particularly beneficial as it contains potassium and polyphenol antioxidants that are known to promote heart health.

2. Reduces Symptoms of Arthritis and Gout-   The consumption of cherries helps to inhibit oxidative stress and decrease inflammation by suppressing inflammatory proteins that can help reduce symptoms related to arthritis. They also reduce uric acid levels in the body that can help people with symptoms of Gout.

3. Improves Sleep-  Studies have shown that cherries will help to improve quality of sleep as it contains a high concentration of plant compounds. Cherry contains melatonin, a substance that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

4. Helps in exercise recovery-   High concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds present in cherries can help to recover from exercise-induced muscle damage, pain and inflammations.

5. Promotes Bone Health-  Cherries contain boron, a mineral that helps to maintain calcium balance and promotes bone health.