There is something about cherries that makes us want to associate it with all things sweet and decadent. When they are not sitting pretty on top of cakes, they are one of the main ingredients in desserts. Sweet, tarty and ever-so delightful, cherries enjoy a massive following across the globe. But did you know that if consumed in the right way, cherries could also prove to be a treasure trove of health benefits? Montmorency cherries, a variety of sour cherry produced in France and Canada, are packed with anti-inflammatory compounds. This bright red variant of cherry is said to be ten times more effective in healing pain than popular pain relievers available in market. The yellow and red ones (particularly sour in taste) are loaded with vitamin C. Cherries also contain significant amounts of melatonin, a unique chemical that can promote sound sleep. Cherries are also extremely high in heart-healthy potassium that regulates heart rate and blood pressure . Not just that, the ruby red delight has anti diabetic properties too. Yes, you heard us! This dessert staple, packs in antioxidants and compounds that could help manage blood sugar levels too.
Cherries For Diabetes: How cherries may help manage diabetes
1. A Powerhouse of Antioxidants: Cherries are loaded with a variety of antioxidants, some of which are anti diabetic in nature. According to the book, ‘Healing Foods’, by DK Publishing “tart cherries may be useful in treating diabetes. Their abundant antioxidant anthocyanins can increase insulin production, helping regulate blood sugar levels”
Anthocyanins occur naturally in cherries, and are a reason behind the fruit’s bright red hue. Other fruits that are rich in anthocyanins are blueberries, strawberries and grapes. A research study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, isolated several anthocyanins from cherries, testing them on insulin-producing pancreatic cells taken from rodents. The findings revealed that the cells of the rodents pumped up their insulin production by 50% when exposed to the anthocyanins.
2. Rich in Fibre: Cherries are rich in fibre and around 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). Fibre delays digestion, it does not allow the sugar to get metabolised quickly and cause a surge in blood sugar levels.
3. Low GI Fruit: The glycaemic index of cherry is very low. The GI score of cherries is a mere 20. Cherries are very low on carbs too. One cup has about 19 g of carbs. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbs with low GI value (55 or less) are digested, absorbed and metabolised slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood glucose. Low GI foods are recommended for diabetics so that they don’t encounter sudden spikes in blood sugar levels for a meal.
How to eat cherries to manage diabetes?
Consume seasonal, fresh and organic cherries. The canned varieties are often loaded with sugar which can elevate your blood glucose levels. Sour cherries have higher antioxidant levels than other cherries. You can have them alone or you can enjoy them with your bowl of oatmeal, cereal and yogurt. Tossing them in salads and fruit chaat is also a healthy and yummy way you can consider.
It must be understood, that before making any drastic alteration to your diet you must consult an expert. If you happen to see any major fluctuation in your blood sugar levels after making changes to your diet, do consult a certified nutritionist who can chart a diet for you.