Bright red, tart, and sweet, cherries are now coming into season (typically from May to July) and eating them all summer long comes with a bevy of health benefits. Previously, cherries have been linked with improvements in sleep quality due to their content of tryptophan and melatonin, which are both vital for regulating sleep cycles. 

Cherries have also shown potential in reducing hemoglobin A1C and improving lipid profiles for individuals with diabetes. Plus, the fruit can also help with gout—a painful inflammatory condition caused by excess uric acid crystallization in the joints.

Researchers at UC-Davis found that consuming around 45 Bing cherries for breakfast can significantly reduce urate levels in the blood, which is a critical factor in gout attacks. This suggests that cherries might be a useful dietary addition for those looking to manage or prevent gout.


RELATED: Juicy, Sweet, and Full of Flavor: The Best Summer Fruit (Plus Recipes!)

Further research has expanded on the health benefits of both sweet and tart cherries. These studies indicate that cherries can decrease markers of oxidative stress in the majority of cases and reduce inflammation markers in a substantial number of studies. 

They are rich in antioxidants, with a standard one-cup serving containing up to 4,873 antioxidants—compounds that help protect cells from oxidative stress, which can lead to various chronic diseases.

Cherries are especially rich in anthocyanins, which not only give cherries their vibrant color but also have heart-health benefits, such as protecting against cardiovascular disease by inhibiting plaque formation and reducing inflammation.

Additionally, cherries have been shown to alleviate muscle soreness and strength loss following exercise and to help lower blood pressure in many instances. 

This wide range of benefits suggests that incorporating cherries into your diet could contribute positively to overall health and wellness, alongside their specific benefits in managing gout.

Getting the most out of cherries

While nothing beats eating fresh cherries, we turned to celebrity chefs for fun ideas to get more of these powerful summer fruits on your plate. 

Here are some cherry-inspired recipes curated from the kitchens of Oprah, Martha Stewart, and Bobby Flay, all easily made plant-based with minimal swaps. 

Oprah-Cherry-PieAlana Hale

1Rainier Cherry and Apple Pie With Potato Chip Crumble

Inspired by Washington State’s prolific cherry and apple varieties, this Rainier Cherry and Apple Pie with Potato Chip Crumble recipe from Oprah Daily uniquely combines the tartness of Rainier cherries and the sweetness of Granny Smith apples under a salty, crunchy topping of crushed potato chips. The pie features a buttery crust filled with a sweet and tart fruit mixture, topped with a crumble that includes oats and cinnamon for a traditional flavor paired with the novel texture of potato chips. This inventive recipe, baked initially at a lower temperature to set the filling and finished at a higher temperature to crisp the topping, showcases a creative blend of textures and flavors that reflect the state’s agricultural bounty.
Pro tip: Use plant-based butter as a one-for-one swap for the traditional butter in this recipe to reap the most benefits. Luckily, the Tim’s Cascade Style lightly salted potato chips are already an accidentally vegan snack
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Cherry-Panna-CottaRen Fuller

2 Roasted Cherries With Tofu Panna Cotta

For this panna cotta, Martha Stewart’s creates a simple, yet very luxurious, dessert that creatively blends the robust flavors of oven-roasted cherries with the smooth, custard-like texture of silken tofu. In this recipe, sweet cherries are tossed with honey and lemon juice and roasted to enhance their natural flavors. Fresh raspberries are added after roasting for a burst of tartness. The tofu, a plant-based alternative to traditional panna cotta, is gently steamed and combined with the fruit mixture. 
Pro tip: substitute honey for a bee-free alternative that will deliver the same sweetness without harming the little pollinators.
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3Fresh Cherry Margaritas

Food Network celebrity chef Bobby Flay has a well-documented affection for cherries, particularly the Amarena variety from the Bologna and Modena regions of Italy that the chef religiously stocks in his pantry. For his Fresh Cherry Margaritas, Flay incorporates different types of cherries in a recipe that perfectly combines the tartness of fresh Bing cherries with the sweetness of agave nectar and the robust flavor of tequila. This easy-to-make drink includes lime juice and maraschino cherry liqueur to enhance the cherry flavor, and is garnished with lime wedges and cherries—Amarena, if you please. 
Pro tip: If you’re worried drinking alcohol might cancel out the benefits of cherries, you can easily turn this into a virgin margarita with an alcohol-free spirit instead. 
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