Keeping inflammation at bay is what cherries do best. That's because they contain anthocyanins, antioxidants whose anti-inflammatory effects may help reduce pain. As a rule, the darker the cherry's color, the higher the anthocyanin content. Although both sweet and tart cherries contain anthocyanins, generally, tart cherries, such as Montmorencys, Morellos, and Early Richmonds, have been found to have higher concentrations than sweet cherries, such as Bing, Royal Ann, Rainier, Tartarian, and Lambert. Tart cherries are slightly lower in sugar too. The smallest of the stone fruits is also beneficial as a natural source of melatonin, an antioxidant hormone that helps regulate biorhythms and sleep patterns.
Choose It & Use It
Rarely sold fresh because they are so tart, tart cherries have a distinct bright red color. Cherry juice concentrate gives you—the biggest antioxidant bang for your buck, and it's sold year-round at grocery stores. Next best are dried cherries—which have considerably higher amounts of the health-giving compounds than canned or frozen.