Are cherries good for you? The short answer is an overwhelming YES! Low in calories, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and micronutrients, the question should not be whether cherries are good for you, but instead, how good.
Indeed, cherries are small stone fruits packed with amazing nutritional properties! They provide a wide range of health benefits to the human body including some anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anti-cancerous, and diuretic actions. Let’s take a look together at the main health benefits of cherries.
Main Health Benefits of Cherries
1. Cherries are rich in antioxidants
Cherries are a great source of antioxidants. These molecules slow down or prevent the oxidation of other chemical substances on contact and make it possible to slow cell aging but also to prevent chronic diseases such as certain cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, or obesity.
2. Rich in vitamins
Very rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, the cherry is a real cocktail of antioxidants. By consuming about 120 g of cherries, you cover 20% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 25% of vitamin A. Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system and allows you to better resist various infections, while vitamin A protects the skin and eyes. These two vitamins also have important antioxidant properties.
3. Full of micronutrients
In addition to all these vitamins, the cherry is also a good source of various micronutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Calcium and phosphorus help maintain healthy bones and teeth. As for magnesium, it participates in the proper functioning of the immune system and fights fatigue. The cherry also contains, in smaller quantities, iron, zinc, and copper.
4. Good source of fiber
Cherries are a good source of fiber, which helps to improve your health in multiple ways. For example:
- Fibers are good for your bowel movements and help to prevent constipation.
- Fiber contributes to stable blood sugar levels, which lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Fibers saturate well, which makes it easier to lose and maintain weight.
- Fiber is food for the good bacteria in your intestines. This helps to keep your intestinal flora in balance and that in turn is good for your immune system and the absorption of nutrients.
Quercetin and the anthocyanin extracts contained in cherries are flavonoids that are thought to exert anticarcinogenic activity. Several studies have shown that its consumption would prevent the formation of lesions in the colon, which could turn into tumors. It is also believed to slow the growth of cancer cells in the intestine.
6. Promote weight loss
Cherry is a good source of pectin, a soluble fiber that dissolves in the body and forms a sort of sticky gel in the intestine. This binds to harmful substances and prevents them from being absorbed into the body.
Fat molecules as well get trapped in this gel and cannot enter the bloodstream. When pectin dissolves in the stomach, it increases in size and takes up more space.
It slows down the absorption of sugars and provides a feeling of satiety. Consuming fruits rich in pectin promotes weight loss and cardiovascular health.
Anthocyanins are an antioxidant with very powerful anti-inflammatory properties. According to a study, its strong presence in cherry would reduce muscle pain and promote recovery during intense physical effort. Another study has shown that in reducing inflammation of the tissues that cause headaches, cherries are 10 times more effective than aspirin. So, whether you are athletic or suffering from a migraine, eat cherries!
8. A natural diuretic
Thanks to its richness in potassium, the cherry promotes the elimination of urine and toxins contained in the blood. Its consumption, therefore, has a positive impact on the kidneys and facilitates their proper functioning. In infusion or tea, the cherry stems are diuretic, refreshing, and are very useful to fight against water retention.
9. Promote digestive function
The high fiber content in the pulp of the cherry makes it a perfect digestion ally. The presence of sorbitol in the sugars of this fruit causes a slight laxative action. Cherry is therefore a natural remedy for constipation. It also tones the digestive tract and cleanses the colon.
10. Protect the skin
The anthocyanin present in cherries gives them their dark red color. This antioxidant is used by the body to make essential amino acids for its proper functioning. It also protects the skin from aging and the body’s cells from UV radiation.
11. Fight against insomnia
An American study recently demonstrated the significant presence of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our wake and sleep cycles, in cherries. Thus, its consumption could help slow down the aging process, fight jet lag and regulate sleep. This study is a big step forward in treating people with insomnia in a natural way.
Another study of men and women with insomnia has shown that drinking cherry juice can improve sleep duration. Half of the participants were given 225 ml of cherry juice in the morning upon waking up and then one to two hours before going to bed, while the other half of the participants ingested a placebo.
The participants who drank cherry juice slept on average between one hour and 24 minutes more than those who did not.
12. Cherries protect against diabetes
The anti-inflammatory effect of cherries helps the body stay healthy. Plus, cherries have a lower glycemic index than most other fruits. This means that eating a serving of cherries will not suddenly increase and then decrease your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Cherries, therefore, help protect the body against diabetes.
13. Cherries can relieve arthritis
Several studies have shown that regular consumption of cherries can soothe arthritis.
If you want to reduce joint pain, then do not hesitate to incorporate cherries or cherry juice into your diet.
14. Prevent and relieve the symptoms of gout
Gout is a fairly common chronic disease that is related to uric acid metabolism and usually manifests as acute monoarthritis of the big toe.
This arthritis is triggered when uric acid builds up in the joints, causing swelling and excruciating pain.
Studies have shown that patients with gout who consumed cherries for only two days (both fresh fruit and cherry juice) had a 35% lower risk of having a gout attack compared to participants who had not eaten cherries.
15. Cherries lower cholesterol levels
One study has shown that drinking cherry juice can help lower overall cholesterol levels, including “bad” cholesterol levels. However, this can have a real impact on health since a reduction of 1% in cholesterol lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by 2%.
And a high level of bad cholesterol is almost always linked to a high risk of having a heart attack.
16. Cherries reduce soreness
If you don’t want to be sore after exercising, consider eating cherries! They are indeed known to reduce soreness and pain after a workout. They also facilitate muscle recovery. It is for this reason that top athletes regularly drink cherry juice.
17. Cherries help to relax
Cherries provide a relaxing effect for the nervous system. They also enhance concentration. This peculiarity would be due to its smell. An interesting study found that people subjected to the scent of cherries are 15% more productive. The reason is that the cherry stimulates the region of the brain responsible for attention, and therefore would increase the efficiency of the task performed.
Nutritional Value of Cherries
|Calories: 63.7 kcal|
Proteins: 1.16 g
Carbohydrates: 12.7 g
Fat: 0.25 g
|Vitamin C: 8.5 mg|
Vitamin B9: 6 µg
Vitamin B6: 0,04 mg
Beta-carotene: 38 µg
|Potassium: 200 mg|
Calcium: 15 mg
Magnesium: 11.2 mg
Iodine: 0.25 µg.
Iron: 0.17 mg
How to maximize the benefits of cherries
Nothing beats a good bowl of cherries when it’s in season, but luckily that’s not the only way to enjoy all the benefits of this delicious fruit. You can also buy frozen cherries, cherry juice, or dried cherries.
Do not hesitate to eat cherries or drink cherry juice regularly to sleep better or recover faster after an intensive workout. This will allow you to enjoy all the health benefits of cherries while feasting your taste buds!
Video Summary – Are cherries good for you?
As you can see, cherries are packed with health benefits, which can affect the functioning of your body in a positive way. For example, they contribute to reducing inflammation, gout attacks, and muscle pain after exercise. They are also rich in fiber, can improve your sleep, and are good for your heart. What more can you ask for?
Do you like to eat cherries, and did you already know about these health benefits? Let us know in the comment section!
Born in London, England and raised in Orlando, FL, Elena graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelors’ degree in Health Sciences. She later received her masters’ in Creative Writing from Drexel University. She writes part-time for the Scientific Origin and focuses mostly on health related issues.