Tart cherries are also called sour, red and pie cherries. They are most frequently used in desserts, in main courses, in juices, in salads and in jams and jellies. Tart cherries are harvested in July and then most are frozen, dried or canned. They are not only tasty, but they are also very nutritious.
Native Americans relied on tart cherries to help relieve pain. The Cherokee Indians used them for sore throats and the Ojibwa tribe used them to treat laryngitis. Tart cherries were also used for stomach pain, internal health and as an overall health tonic.
Tart cherries have one of the highest concentration of disease-fighting antioxidants. They are rich in beta carotene, potassium, fiber, folate, magnesium and iron.
Tart cherries are suggested to alleviate arthritis pain. They are also used to help with the pain that accompanies gout.
A University of Michigan study found tart cherries to have healthy heart benefits. The study found a diet rich in tart cherries lowered body fat, especially the dangerous belly fat associated with heart disease.
Diabetes, Cancer, Aging
Tart cherries are also credited with reducing the risk factors that contribute to diabetes and certain cancers. Tart cherries' antioxidant properties may also help slow the aging process and ward off memory loss.
Tart cherries can be beneficial for those who have trouble sleeping. Tart cherries contain melatonin, which helps regulate the body's sleep cycle. They are also suggested for jet lag.