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Jena DeMoss: Cheers to cherry health benefits

By Jena DeMoss

Corporate Hy-Vee Dietitian

Sweet, plump cherries are a crowd favorite at summer picnics and reunions. But did you know that tart cherries can help you sleep?

Tart Montmorency cherries naturally contain melatonin, a chemical critical in regulating the sleep-wake cycle in humans. The serving size is 1 cup of fresh or frozen cherries, half cup of canned cherries, eight ounces of 100 percent tart cherry juice or quarter cup of dried cherries.

By the numbers

According to the USDA, one cup of cherries contains 51 calories, 13 grams carbohydrates and 1.6 grams of fiber. Cherries are an excellent source of potassium for heart health, vitamin C for immunity and vitamin A for healthy vision.

Nutrient value

Cherries are an excellent source of polyphenols and vitamin C, which help boost immunity and reduce inflammation. Tart cherries are an excellent source of melatonin. The consumption of 8 ounces of tart cherry juice before bed has been shown to improve sleep duration and sleep quality among healthy men and women, and might help manage disturbed sleep.

Don’t forget the fiber

The fiber in cherries and other berries can help you reach your daily fiber goal for healthy digestion. The daily recommendation for fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.

Cherries contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber slows down digestion to help with the absorption of nutrients. Insoluble fiber works like a broom to sweep waste out of the system.

Choose Wisely

Fresh sweet cherries should be firm, plump, bright and glossy.

Sour cherries are smaller than sweet cherries and should be firm, bright and uniformly red.

Cherries are highly perishable and should be refrigerated as soon as possible.

Cherry Relish Pork Tenderloin

Serves 8

All you need

• 2 (1-lb) pkg pork tenderloin

• 1 tbsp Gustare Vita olive oil

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

• 4 tsp finely chopped fresh sage

• 1½ tsp kosher salt

• ½ tsp Hy-Vee black pepper

• 1 lb fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved

• 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped

• ¼ cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper

• 2 tbsp thinly sliced red onion

• 1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped*

• 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme and/or parsley

• 1 tbsp Hy-Vee apple cider vinegar

All you do

1. Pat pork dry. Combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, sage, kosher salt and black pepper. Rub mixture all over pork tenderloins. Wrap each tenderloin in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

2. For relish, toss together cherries, apple, bell pepper, red onion, serrano, thyme and/or parsley and apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

3. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill with greased grill rack for direct cooking over medium heat. Unwrap pork; let stand at room temperature while grill is preheating. Grill pork for 15 to 20 minutes or until done (145 degrees F). Cover and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with relish.

*Note: Chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes. When working with serranos, wear protective gloves.

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