Cherries are one of the very low calorie fruits; yet are rich source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Both sweet as well as tart Cherries are packed with numerous health benefiting compounds that are essential for wellbeing.Cherries are pigment rich fruits. These pigments are in fact polyphenolic flavonoid compounds known asanthocyanin glycosides. Anthocyanins are red, purple or blue pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, especially concentrated in their skin, known to have powerful anti-oxidant.
Cherry fruit nutrition facts
Wonderfully delicious, cherry fruit is packed with full of health-benefiting nutrients and unique antioxidants. Cherries are native to Eastern Europe and Asia Minor regions.
Botanically, the fruit is a “drupe” (stone fruit), belonging to the broad rosaceae family of small tree fruits in the genus, prunus. Some of common “drupe” family fruits are plums, peaches, apricots etc. Although several species of cherries exist, two popular cultivars are wild or sweet cherry and sour or tart cherry. While wild or sweet cherry belongs to the species; prunus avium, tart cherry belongs to that of prunus cerasus.
Cherries are drupe fruits with central “stony-hard” seed surrounded fleshy fruit measuring 2 cm in diameter. Externally the fruits have bright “shiny” red or purple color with very thin skin.
The West Indian cherry fruit known as aserola (Malpighia emarginata) is native to West Indian islands and grown in Mexico, Texas regions in North America. Acerola belongs to tropical fruit-bearing shrub or small tree in the family Malpighiaceae and contain 2-3 small seeds. Acerola contain exceptionally high levels of vitamin-C and vitamin-A than North American and European cherries.
Cherries are a nutritional powerhouse fruit with so many incredible health benefits. One cup of raw cherries has 87 calories, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Enjoy them now while they are at their peak because their season is way too short. Read on for some of the great health benefits of eating cherries.
Health benefits of cherry fruit
- Cherries are one of the very low calorie fruits; yet are rich source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Both sweet as well as tart Cherries are packed with numerous health benefiting compounds that are essential for wellbeing.
- Cherries are pigment rich fruits. These pigments are in fact polyphenolic flavonoid compounds known asanthocyanin glycosides. Anthocyanins are red, purple or blue pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, especially concentrated in their skin, known to have powerful anti-oxidant properties.
- Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in the cherries are found to act like anti-inflammatory agents by blocking the actions of cycloxygenase-1 and 2 enzymes. Thus consumption of cherries has potential health effects against chronic painful episodes such as gout arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition) and sports injuries.
- Research studies also suggest that tart cherries are help body to fight against cancers, aging and neurological diseases and pre-diabetes.
- Cherry fruits are very rich in stable anti-oxidant melatonin. Melatonin can cross the blood-brain barrier easily and produces soothing effects on the brain neurons, calming down nervous system irritability, which helps relieve neurosis, insomnia and headache conditions.
- They are also good source of minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral; an important component of cell and body fluids that regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
- The fruits, especially tart cherries are exceptionally rich in many health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic anti-oxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene. These compounds act as protective scavengers against harmful free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes.
- Anti-inflammatory property of cherries has been found effective in reducing heart disease risk factors by scavenging action against free radicals.
- Acerola or West Indian cherry has exceptionally very high levels of vitamin-C (1677.6 mg per 100 g or 2796 % of RDA) and vitamin-A (767 IU per 100 g).
Ten Great Health Benefits of Eating Cherries
1. Cherries, known as a “super-fruit”, are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins which aid in the reduction of heart disease and cancer.
2. Cherries are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles.
3. Cherries are an excellent source of beta carotene (vitamin A). In fact they contain 19 times more beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries.
4. Cherries are rich in vitamins C, E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber.
5. Cherries are referred to as “brain food”, aiding in brain health and in the prevention of memory loss.
6. Because cherries contain anthocyanins, they can reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis and gout.
7. Eating cherries reduces the risk of diabetes.
8. Cherries are a good source of fiber which is important for digestive health.
9. Cherries are a great snack or dessert choice important for weight-maintenance.
10. Because of their powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, cherries are said to reduce pain and joint soreness for runners and athletes after workouts.
See the table below for in depth analysis:
Sweet and Tart Cherry fruits, fresh, raw,
Nutritive Value per 100 g,
|Principle||Nutrient Value per 100g||Percentage of RDA|
|Energy||63 cal 50 Kcal||3% 2.5%|
|Carbohydrates||16.1 g 12.18 g||12% 9%|
|Protein||1.06 g 1.00 g||2% 2%|
|Total Fat||0.2 g 0.3 g||1% 1.5%|
|Cholesterol||0 g 0 g||0% 0%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.1 g 1.6 g||5.5% 4%|
|Folates||4 mcg 8 mcg||1% 2%|
|Niacin||0.154 mg 0.400 mg||1% 2.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.199 mg 0.143 mg||4% 3%|
|Pyridoxine||0.049 mg 0.044 mg||4% 3.5%|
|Riboflavin||0.033 mg 0.040 mg||2.5% 3%|
|Thiamin||0.027 mg 0.030 mg||2% 2.5%|
|Vitamin C||7 mg 10 mg||11% 17%|
|Vitamin A||640IU 1283 IU||21% 43%|
|Vitamin E||0.07 mg 0.07 mg||0.5% 0.5%|
|Vitamin K||2.1 mcg 2.1 mcg||2% 2%|
|Sodium||0 mg 3mg||0% 0%|
|Potassium||222 mg 179mg||5% 4%|
|Calcium||13 mg 16 mg||1.3% 1.6%|
|Copper||0.060 mg 0.104 mg||7% 11.5%|
|Iron||0.36 mg 0.32 mg||4.5% 4%|
|Magnesium||11 mg 9mg||3% 2%|
|Manganese||0.070 mg 0.112mg||3% 5%|
|Phosphorus||21 mg 15 mg||3% 2%|
|Zinc||0.07 mg 0.10 mg||0.5% 0.1%|
|Carotene, alpha||0 mcg 0 mcg||—|
|Carotene, beta||38 mcg 770 mcg||—|
|Crypto-xanthin, ß||0 mcg 0 mcg||—|
|Lutein-zeaxanthin||85 mcg 85 mcg||—|
(Source: USDA Nutrient database)
Selection and storage
Cherry fruit season lasts from May end until August in the United States. Fresh ripe cherries have short shelf life. In the store, choose cherries that have bright, shiny skin with green stalk firmly attached to the top of the fruit.
Keep fresh cherries in the refrigerator. Whenever you wish to eat them, just rinse cherries in lukewarm water to remove dust and to bring them to room temperature. Then, gently pat dry with soft cloth to remove moisture.
Preparation and Serving method
To prepare cherry, remove the stalk, wash them gently in cold water, and pat dry in soft cloth. Ripe ones can be eaten as a whole including skin to get the maximum benefits.
Sweet cherries are being used in several recipes,
- Sweet cherries can be eaten all alone.
- In fruit cocktail made with cherry, peach, pineapple, pear and grape.
- As fruit salad with peach, pear, apricot and pineapple.
- Add dried cherries infruitcakes, bread, and cookie.
- Use them in desserts, pie fillings and toaster Pastries.
Tart cherries are mainly used in the preparation of sauce, pie fillings, jams, muffins and cheese cakes. Tart cherry fruit juice concentrate is a favorite refreshing drink among athletes and various sports personnel. Dried tart cherries make delicious additions to meals and snacks.