8 Amazing Benefits of Cherries

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Rebecca Zinger (RD, LD)

The health benefits of cherries include an improved vision, a stronger immune system, relief from infections, and improved digestion. They are rich in anti-aging properties as well as antioxidants, which can help in preventing illnesses. Cherries may also help prevent cancer.

What are Cherries?

Cherries, which have the scientific name Prunus avium, are one of the most romantic fruits. They are eaten all around the world and are often a favorite flavor or used as an ingredient in cooking. Predominantly a fruit of cold countries, cherries look and taste wonderful. Research conducted from the University of California shows that cherries are a nutrient-dense fruit that is low in calories and comes in both sweet and tart flavors. [1]

Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA Nutrition Database, cherries provide a wide range of rich nutrients that include it is rich in potassium, calcium, fiber, carotenoids, and vitamin C. The fruit also contains magnesium, iron, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin E and B6.

Nutrition Facts

Cherries, sweet, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]82.25
Energy 63
Energy [kJ]263
Protein [g]1.06
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.2
Ash [g]0.48
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]16.01
Fiber, total dietary [g]2.1
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]12.82
Sucrose [g]0.15
Glucose (dextrose) [g]6.59
Fructose [g]5.37
Maltose [g]0.12
Galactose [g]0.59
Calcium, Ca [mg]13
Iron, Fe [mg]0.36
Magnesium, Mg [mg]11
Phosphorus, P [mg]21
Potassium, K [mg]222
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.07
Copper, Cu [mg]0.06
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.07
Fluoride, F [µg]2
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]7
Thiamin [mg]0.03
Riboflavin [mg]0.03
Niacin [mg]0.15
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.2
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.05
Folate, total [µg]4
Folate, food [µg]4
Folate, DFE [µg]4
Choline, total [mg]6.1
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]3
Carotene, beta [µg]38
Vitamin A, IU [IU]64
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]85
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.07
Tocopherol, beta [mg]0.01
Tocopherol, gamma [mg]0.04
Tocotrienol, alpha [mg]0.03
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]2.1
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.04
14:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.03
18:0 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.05
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.05
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.05
18:2 [g]0.03
18:3 [g]0.03
Phytosterols [mg]12
Tryptophan [g]0.01
Threonine [g]0.02
Isoleucine [g]0.02
Leucine [g]0.03
Lysine [g]0.03
Methionine [g]0.01
Cystine [g]0.01
Phenylalanine [g]0.02
Tyrosine [g]0.01
Valine [g]0.02
Arginine [g]0.02
Histidine [g]0.02
Alanine [g]0.03
Aspartic acid [g]0.57
Glutamic acid [g]0.08
Glycine [g]0.02
Proline [g]0.04
Serine [g]0.03
Sources include : USDA

Health Benefits of Cherries

Cherries help with cancer prevention, reduce inflammation, protect your heart, and improve memory and even help improve sleep quality. The health benefits of these cute fruits include the following: [4]

Anti-aging Properties

A research conducted by Ferretti G in the Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy, report that cherries are storehouses of antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids (anthocyanins). They effectively neutralize free radicals and protect us from ailments associated with aging. They also prevent the negative effects of oxidants such as weakening of the heart and nervous system, loss of vision, macular degeneration, hair loss, wrinkling of the skin, loss of libido, as well as colon and prostate cancer. [5]

Boost Immunity

Apart from protecting against the damage of free radicals, the antioxidants (vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids) also boost immunity and protect us from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, particularly those of the colon, urinary tract, intestines, and excretory. According to a study published in 2012, cherries are also effective in helping to prevent arthritis and inflammation. They are also very effective against flu, fevers, and gout. [6] [7]

A basket of fresh cherries and a bottle filled with soaked cherries

Freshly picked cherries Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Anticancer Potential

According to the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), cherries rich in nutrients and dietary fiber may help in getting rid of the excess body fat which is linked to a higher risk of developing cancer. [8]

A lot of in-vitro studies are ongoing to gauge the anticancer effects of cherries and the results are promising. [9] [10]

Research conducted at Michigan State University and published in the Cancer Letters journal suggests that tart cherries contain anthocyanins and cyanidin, properties that may help lower your risk of colon cancer. [11]

Another study on tart cherries shows a potential activity of apoptosis in human breast cancer cells. The results,  however, show a biphasic pattern and more studies are awaited. [12]

Eye Care

The antioxidants in cherries can play a powerful role in maintaining healthy eyes. They can protect eyes against damage done by free radicals and aging such as vision loss, macular degeneration, and dryness. They also help in soothing the eyes, reducing inflammation, and maintaining proper ocular pressure.

Improve Brain Function

Flavonoids and carotenoids are effective phytonutrients that improve the efficiency of the brain, memory, and cognitive function, which are otherwise reduced due to the action of free radicals as a nearly unavoidable part of aging. The antioxidant properties of these cherries may also protect the nervous system from age-related disorders. Thus, they may be helpful in giving relief from nervous disorders, depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. [13]

Aid in Digestion

While the fiber in cherries helps relieve constipation, the acid in them aids digestion. Again, the antioxidants in cherries keep the digestive system in order. The flavonoids stimulate the gastric juices for the break down of food particles and bile, which then helps break down fats and fat-soluble vitamins for better absorption and usage.

Reduce Heart Diseases

The nutrients in cherries like vitamins, antioxidants (flavonoids and carotenoids), and minerals such as phosphorus are excellent cardio-protectors. They protect the heart from damage done by the oxidants. They help maintain proper heart rate, prevent blood vessels from stiffening or hardening (atherosclerosis), and reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks. They also can strengthen the cardiac muscles. [14]

Improve Sleep Quality

Cherries also contain a high amount of melatonin, or a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep cycle, and is released from the pineal gland in the brain. In a pilot study from the Journal of Medicinal Food, tart cherry juice can possibly improve sleep in older adults that experience insomnia. Although the study had limitations, further studies of the sleep-promoting benefits of cherries continue to be conducted. [15]

Tired of reading this black and white text? Soothe your eyes and refresh yourself with a few cherries. Or you can make some cherry cobbler and relish the dessert. The ways to eat these powerful fruits are almost limitless, so enjoy! [16]

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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