Are cherries the new superfood?

With cherry season almost upon us it is interesting to note that cherries are a particularly healthy fruit.

But don’t panic if you miss out this season.

The health benefits of cherries

According to Joel Fuhrman’s blog Disease Proof we should eat cherries for a healthy heart.

The benefits that Deana Ferreri cites in the post are:

  • Cherries protect against oxidative stress
  • Cherries reduce inflammation
  • Cherries act as a natural painkiller
  • Cherries may help you sleep

It is nice to know that such a tasty fruit has all these interesting health benefits.

The case for variety

The reality is that all fruits and vegetables contain innumerable antioxidants and phytochemicals that are beneficial to health. It is fun to observe the latest health benefits attributed to a particular plant, but remember that the best approach is to eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.

Superfood media frenzy

It is hard to get a balanced understanding of nutrition listening to the media because what makes for a good news article (or blog post) doesn’t provide the most balanced view.

It is typical to see news stories about some food, say cherries, being touted as the latest superfood because research sponsored by some interested party, say the California Cherry Advisory Board, identifies some health benefit.

I expect that with sufficient funding research could be done to show that any food has a health benefit. For example any food fed to malnourished children in Kenya is likely to be beneficial.

We are still learning

Over the last one hundred years we have discovered the importance of the macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fat) and then vitamins (A, B, C etc.) to health. And recently we have started to realize the importance of the thousands of phytochemicals (flavonoids, phytoestrogens, Lycopene etc.) in plants – many of which are destroyed by food processing.

We are at an exciting time for nutrition where there is as much to discover as is already known. Your best chance for maximizing your health is to not obsess over the details and focus on the general trend.

If you don’t get your hands on any cherries this season, don’t panic, just remember to eat a nice variety of fruits and vegetables. I’m sure Dr Fuhrman would agree.

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One Response to Are cherries the new superfood?

  1. I applaud your stand towards the superfood hype. Indeed, it is almost everyday that we hear a new study about the benefits of a food. What many don’t realize is that a certain superfood may be detrimental to a person depending on his/her health condition. It[s much better to follow the traditional guidelines of eating a variety of greens and fruits!

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