Cherries Are a Tasty Source of Antioxidants
The Topeka Capital-Journal
People have enjoyed both tart and sweet varieties of cherries almost since the beginning of time. More than 650 million pounds of cherries are produced in the U.S. every year.
Besides being tasty, cherries are also extremely nutritious. They are low in calories, fat and sodium, and high in fiber, vitamin C, beta carotene and potassium.
Ongoing research shows that cherries are a rich source of antioxidants that may help fight the inflammation of arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Studies indicate cherries have significant levels of melatonin - a potent antioxidant that can defend cells against harmful carcinogens and free radical damage.
The pigment of the cherries contains anthocyanins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Try these tips for adding cherries to your healthy diet:
n Enjoy fresh Bing cherries, which are now in season, in a fruit salad to add color and a sweet taste.
n Add dried cherries to oatmeal or your favorite snack mix or as a delicious addition to your recipes.
n Keep a container of cherries in the fridge for a quick and healthy snack option.
Enjoy this warm breakfast or brunch recipe with tart cherries and start your day in a healthy way.
Cherry Oatmeal Bake
1/2cup dried tart cherries
1/2cup quick oats, uncooked
2cups skim milk
1/4cup egg substitute
1/2teaspoon almond extract
Combine cherries, oats, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in milk, egg substitute and almond extract. Spray four 10-ounce custard cups with nonstick cooking spray. Divide mixture evenly between custard cups.
Place filled cups on baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350- degree oven, 30 to 40 minutes, or until centers are still slightly soft. Serve warm.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis per serving: calories, 195; carbohydrates, 37 grams; protein, 8 grams; cholesterol, 2.5 milligrams; fat, 1.5 grams; saturated fat, 0 grams; sodium, 165 milligrams; and fiber, 1 grams.
Melissa Moore, R.D., L.D. is a registered dietitian at the Cotton- O'Neil Heart Center, a division of Stormont-Vail HealthCare. Call Health Connections at (785) 354-5225.