London: Cherries are the ultimate rare treat with many health benefits. Bursting with antioxidants, essential vitamins and nutrients, cherries are chock-full of the good stuff and an indulgent snack that's good for you.
This year, the total production of cherries are expected to reach 4,000 tonnes with British growers predict that this year's crop will be the longest and largest season on record.
Femalefirst.co.uk enlists few reasons that why you should be eating them more religiously this year:
* Anthocyanins: A powerful antioxidant, anthocyanins are found in pigment and cherries are pigment-rich fruits. The darker the fruit, the better they are for you, as these are the source of fruit and vegetables' rich, dark colours. These compounds are crammed with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-cancer properties.
* Fibre: About ten cherries will provide the body with 1.4 grams of fibre, which is nearly 10 percent of an adult's RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance).
* Potassium: Cherries are extremely high in heart-healthy potassium, which regulates heart rate and blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension and stroke, while promoting the heart and kidneys to function properly.
* Antioxidants: Cherries are exceptionally rich in antioxidants such as lutein, zaexanthin and beta carotene. These compounds act as protective scavengers against harmful free radicals that play a role in aging, cancers and various diseases.
* Melatonin: Feeling tried but having trouble sleeping? Cherries are a rich food source of the hormone melatonin, which promotes healthy circadian rhythm and sleep patterns.
* Essential Vitamins: There's no need to pop vitamin pills if you're feeling poorly. One cup of cherries provides 10.8mg of Vitamin C alongside beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin K. These vitamins are essential for collagen formation in the blood vessels, blood, muscles and bones.
* Phytosterols: Phytosterols, also known as plant sterols, occur naturally in cherries. These help to reduce 'bad' cholesterol levels (LDL) to lower the risk of cancer, and stimulate the immune system.
* Low in calories: One cherry is just four calories, so there's no need to feel guilty about finishing off a bag in one go.