Health

Dairy-free cherry cheesecake: Superfood recipe Day 7

Five health benefits of cherries and a no-bake, gluten-free, vegan dessert

cherry cheesecake

Julie Daniluk

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 — and 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.

Dairy-free cherry 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

Directions:

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.

For more superfood recipes, click here.

Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet (OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network), a reality cooking show that highlights the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation (Random House) is now available and will help people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great and assist the body in the healing process.