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Get healthier joints with anti-inflammatory cherries

Right now is the perfect time to enjoy fresh Canadian cherries, which come complete with several health benefits. Try them in this no-bake, dairy-free, gluten-free cheesecake!

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Julie Daniluk

The peak of summer means it’s cherry season in Canada, which is great news for everyone but could be especially good news if you have joint issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as many as 20 percent of adults suffer from arthritis and/or chronic joint symptoms. These joint-related issues may keep people from enjoying physical exercise, but an anti-inflammatory diet could provide some relief and increased mobility — read on to find out how cherries fit perfectly into that diet.

Five reasons to pick up some fresh cherries at the farmers’ market
1. Cherries can reduce joint pain: The red pigment in cherries is created by anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce the inflammatory markers in the blood. This could create a reduction in inflammation of your joints, and ultimately, a reduction in pain.

2. They’re the ultimate food for your heart: Cherries contain high levels of quercetin, a plant flavonoid that could have the ability to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and free-radical damage to your arteries.

3. Reduce your chances of gout with cherries: The quercitin in cherries, combined with their high levels of vitamin C, could decrease the amount of uric acid in the body. When uric acid accumulates, it can deposit in the joints as painful crystals, resulting in gout. Try snacking on some cherries after a heavy protein meal to avoid this painful accumulation!

4. Cherries help protect your eyesight: Cherries are high in lutein and zeaxanthin. These are two powerful antioxidants that specifically target the tissue of the eye. Making sure you consume enough of these antioxidants may aid in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, which would help your eyes stay healthy for a long time.

5. They could help you fight obesity: Cherries are a source of vitamin C and plant sterols. These two features together have shown a synergistic effect on the reduction of fat in the body, not to mention the high fiber content to eliminate unwanted toxins.


 

Raw vegan cherry (faux) cheesecake
Most cheesecake is full of sugar, red dye and fat. This Healthy Gourmet recipe contains honey (a natural immune booster), coconut butter (a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides), and mineral-packed nuts. This triple-power combination delivers sustained energy and nerve-supportive B vitamins for any busy routine.

Ingredients

Crust:
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 tsp grey sea salt
2 tbsp honey

Cherry topping:
2 cups pitted cherries
1/4 cup honey

Filling:
2 cups soaked cashews
6 tbsp honey
6 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut butter
1tsp vanilla extract

Garnish:
Fresh cherries
Mint

Instructions

Crust:
1. In a food processor with the S blade, pulse walnuts and almonds until they are fine, then slowly add honey and mix.

2. Stop once the mixture starts to form together. You do not want overdo the process or it will get too oily.

3. Press mixture into the bottom of the spring pan.  
 
Filling:

1. In a food processor mix all ingredients until creamy. This should be thick in consistency but smooth.

2. Pour in spring pan. Let stand in a refrigerator or freezer for at least a couple of hours to set.

Cherry sauce:
1. In a food processor, blend all topping ingredients until smooth.

2. Pour on top of cheesecake. Garnish with fresh fruit.

Serves 10

What’s your favourite cherry recipe?

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. For more inflammation-busting recipes, check out her book Meals That Heal Inflammation.