HEALTHY EATING

A new review of nearly 30 published studies confirms that sweet cherries can help tackle some big wellness issues. Sweet cherries can play a part in improving these five common concerns:

1. Studies have shown that eating sweet cherries can increase antioxidant capacity and reduce oxidative stress, bringing the body back into a healthy balance.

2. Research shows that the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries can have the same effect as ibuprofen.

3. When eating sweet cherries was combined with prescribed medicine, specifically allopurinol, the risk of a gout attack was 75 percent lower.

4. A good night’s sleep is essential to functioning at top form during the day. With sweet cherries, you have a reliable source of tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin.

5. Studies point to a link between the consumption of sweet cherries and a lowering of blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic measures.

EASY RECIPE

Cantaloupe Soup

For a refreshing way to kick off a summer meal, try this Cantaloupe Soup recommended by Johns Hopkins Medicine.

- 2 cantaloupes

- 1 teaspoon ground ginger

- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

- 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream, plus 4 teaspoons for garnish

Cut cantaloupes in half. Remove seeds. With a spoon or melon baller, remove fruit from flesh. Refrigerate rinds to use as soup “bowls.” Put melon into blender with sour cream and spices. Blend to a creamy consistency. Refrigerate for at least an hour to chill soup and let flavors blend. Pour soup into melon bowls and swirl in a teaspoon of sour cream as a garnish.

Serves four.

Each serving contains approximately 129 calories, 28 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, less than 1 g fat, 111 mg sodium, and 3 g fiber.

EASY RECIPE

Watermelon-Cranberry Agua Fresca

Popular fresh-fruit drinks in Mexico, aguas frescas are typically made with water, but this undiluted version from Mayo Clinic is a thirst quencher.

- 2 1/2 pounds seedless watermelon, rind removed and diced (about 7 cups)

- 1 cup fruit-sweetened cranberry juice (sometimes called cranberry nectar)

- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

- 1 lime, cut into 6 slices

Place the melon in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl to eliminate the pulp and clarify the juice. Pour the juice into a large pitcher. Add the cranberry and lime juices and stir to combine. Refrigerate until very cold. Pour into tall, chilled glasses and garnish each with a slice of lime.

STRAWBERRIES

Naturally sweet, yet low in sugar

One serving of eight strawberries has only 50 calories and eight grams of sugar.

Bursting with nutrients

Filled with antioxidants, potassium and fiber, strawberries don’t stop there: A single serving has more vitamin C than an orange.

Helps with cognitive function

According to a study in the Annals of Neurology, eating strawberries at least twice per week may delay cognitive aging by two and a half years, which includes improvement in memory and motor function.

Snacks anyone will love

Both kids and adults love a good strawberry snack. From quick and kid-friendly to show-stopping hors d’oeuvres, visit CaliforniaStrawberries.com for snacks perfect for all ages and occasions.

Great for diabetes management

The nutrient-packed berries are a great option for those with diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association lists strawberries as a top superfood for diabetic meal plans.

— Brandpoint