It's cherry season again and the first of the cherries have just arrived at the organic markets.

Of course, we always encourage you to eat only organic food but especially so with foods such as cherries which are among the top twelve most contaminated foods. Studies have been carried out on pesticides in cherries and it has been found that over 90% of cherries contain pesticides and most cherries tested are contaminated with more than one pesticide.

Cherries are a very tasty and nutritious fruit; they contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which have many health benefits. Below is a list of the benefits of eating Certified Organic cherries:

  • Cherries contain vitamin C, vitamin A, bioflavonoids, anthocyanins and melatonin.
  • Cherries are high in potassium and low in sodium. This improves the water balance in our bodies, and can help in the loss of excess water weight.
  • Cherries can help in relieving pain and help with premature aging.
  • As cherries are a great source of antioxidants, they help in preventing and repairing the damage caused by free radicals.
  • Researchers have found that cherries are a great way to help fight cancer. They contain -
    • Queritin (a flavonoid) one of the most potent anticancer agents (fight cancer cells);
    • Ellagic acid, a phenolic compound which is a proven anti-carcinogen, anti-mutagen, and anti-cancer initiator;
    • Perillyl alcohol helps in reducing the occurrence of all types of cancer, especially pancreas and other cancers with low toxicity. It stops the growth of cancer cells by depriving it of the proteins it needs to grow
  • Cherries can help to relieve and prevent pain of arthritis and gout as they contain compounds that slow down certain enzymes. Gout sufferers should try and incorporate fresh cherries in their daily diet.
  • Cherries can help in curing migraines, as they help to reduce inflammation in the body. Also they contain anthocyanin and bioflanoids which have similar activity to aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • Cherries can help you sleep, as they contain melatonin. This helps the natural sleep patterns of the body. Melatonin has also been shown to be important for the immune system and in lowering the risk of having a heart attack.
  • Studies have identified a group of naturally occurring chemicals that could help in lowering blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Adding a handful of drained canned cherries to your morning smoothie may help you ward off diabetes.
  • Cherries may help in the treatment of kidney stones, gallbladder ailments, tooth decay, prevention of varicose veins, reducing cholesterol and improving physiological and mental functions.
  • Cherries are thought to have a mild laxative affect.
  • Cherries are low in kilojoules and contain a small amount of vitamin B
How to choose and store your cherries -
  • Look for firm, plump, glossy and deep red colored cherries, free from spots and blemishes, with their stems intact.
  • Stems should be fresh and green.
  • Avoid cherries without stems, as this promotes an opportunity for them to decay where the skin has broken.
  • Check carefully for bruises or cuts on the skin's surface. Don't take cherries that are sticky through juice leakage.
  • Choose cherries that have been kept cool and moist (as flavor and texture deteriorates in warm temperatures).
  • Loosely pack cherries in plastic bag for storage (to minimize bruising).
  • Place cherries in the refrigerator. Fresh cherries in good condition should last for up to a week. Remove any that begin to deteriorate.
  • Remember sweet cherries are firm and sour cherries are semi-firm.
A ripe sweet cherry provides one of the greatest taste sensations of any fruit, so enjoy some today!!!

Try this Cherry Smoothie

2 cups of cherries, pitted
1 cup of ice
1 cup vanilla flavored yoghurt
Sugar if necessary

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth

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Kiwifruit is one of the world's most nutritious fruits. Eating just one kiwifruit provides an adult with his or her daily requirement of vitamin C. It is also a great source of dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, mineral potassium and copper.

Studies have shown that more than one type of pesticide has been found in 25% of non-organic kiwifruit. These pesticides are known to affect the hormone system. Now, if that's not enough to convince you to eat organic, below are some more reasons why you should choose organic kiwifruit -

  • Kiwifruit contains an abundant amount of nutrients and antioxidants. Antioxidants include both vitamin C & E.
  • The vitamin C in kiwifruit helps cleanse the body of impurities, boosts the immune system against colds and flu, helps repair the body and combats the effects of aging and stress. Vitamin C can also reduce the severity of conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and help in preventing conditions such as colon cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetic heart disease.
  • The vitamin E in kiwifruit also helps cleanse the body, lower high cholesterol, protects blood cells, muscles, lung and nerve tissue.
  • Kiwifruit has a wealth of phytonutrients, including: carotenoids, lutein, phenolics, flavonoids and chlorophyll.
  • Kiwifruit aids in the digestion process, due to the enzyme actinidin.
  • Kiwifruit helps to prevent the mutation of genes that may initiate the cancer process, as it contains an antimutagenic component.
  • Kiwifruit is a great source of dietary fibre. This fibre can reduce high cholesterol levels, which in turn may reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Fibre is also good for binding and removing toxins from the colon which therefore helps in reducing the risk of colon cancer. It also helps remove potentially harmful substances from the body and finally fibre is also good in keeping the blood sugar levels of diabetics under control.
  • Kiwifruit is low in sodium and high in potassium.
  • Kiwifruit contains more potassium than a banana or citrus fruits.
  • Kiwifruit contains an amino acid, arginine, which has been used in the treatment of impotence in men.
  • Kiwifruit contains serotonin, which causes a calming affect in most people.
  • Kiwifruit contains minerals (electrolytes) essential for replenishing those minerals lost during exercise.
  • Kiwifruit is among the small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates. Oxalates are a salt or ester of oxalic acid that is a naturally occurring substance in plants, animals and humans. When a high amount of oxalates are concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallise and cause health problems, so it is recommended that people who have kidney or gallbladder problems avoid eating kiwifruit.
How to select and store kiwifruit
  • Unripe fruit will be firm to touch, it is best to buy firm kiwifruits and let them ripen after purchase
  • When selecting kiwifruit to eat, apply gentle pressure. Ripe kiwifruit will give to gentle pressure and will have the sweetest taste with a fragrant smell.
  • Avoid very soft skin, shriveled or those which are bruised or have soft/damp spots.
  • The shape of a kiwifruit should be plump and oblong, with thin brown fuzzy skin.
  • Flavor is mild and sweet.
  • Kiwifruit can be left to ripen for a few days to a week at room temperature, away from direct light or heat.
  • Placing them in a paper bag with an apple, banana or pear will speed up the ripening process as these fruits produce ethylene gas.
  • Ripe kiwifruits can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge.
  • If you want to store ripe kiwifruit for longer than a few days, place the kiwi in a plastic bag in the fridge, as the plastic bag helps reduce moisture loss and keeps the kiwi fresh for longer.
  • Once opened the flesh is emerald green with tiny edible black seeds.
Enjoying a couple of kiwifruit may significantly help protect your health - who would have thought that something that tastes so good could also be beneficial to your health! Gives a whole new meaning to the saying that "good things come in small packages"!!!

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