Sweet cherries are considered a good source of dietary potassium, with approximately 260 mg of potassium for every cup of fresh cherries consumed (USDA MyPyramid nutrient data analysis program). In the past ten years there has been increasing evidence of the importance of adequate potassium intake in reducing the risk for hypertension and stroke (He, 2003). More than half of all American adults have high blood pressure. A diet high in potassium and calcium, and low in sodium and alcohol, is a reasonable and safe approach to promote healthy blood pressure.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that in addition to antioxidant activity also plays a role in promoting healthy circadian rhythm and thus promoting healthy sleep patterns. Cherries are one plant food source of melatonin. In one study, melatonin supplementation appeared to be effective in reducing jet lag (Herxheimer, 2002; Suhner, 2001). In combination with other behavioral approaches to promote sleep or reduce jet lag, sweet cherry intake in usual amounts could prove to be useful.