All About Cherries: Nutrition, Benefits, Types, Side Effects, and More

May it be sweet, may it be sour, cherries can enhance the flavor of any dish. It has been a popular fruit among the ancient Greeks and Romans since the 17th century. Cherries are scientifically known as Prunus and they belong to the Rosaceae family. Many of the cherries are produced commercially since the 19th century in the United States and are widely distributed in western Asia and Europe along with other regions worldwide.

Cherries are of three types: Sweet, sour and dukes. Sweet cherries are heart-shaped and juicy with low acid content. Sour cherries can also be called tart cherries because of their tart flavor and higher acid content. Dukes cherries are a mixture of sweet and sour and tend to be sweeter. Cherries are enriched with bioactive components like vitamin C, potassium, fibre, etc.

No doubt, cherries are one of the most beloved fruits and are packed with health benefits. Let us explore in detail about this stone fruit which is a perfect combination of nutrients, taste and health benefits.

Nutrition Facts

Cherries have a high amount of nutrients and are low in calories. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of fresh and raw cherries contains the following nutrient.


Quantity in grams (g) or milligrams (mg)





















Vitamin C






Cherries are a good source of fibre which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system. These stone fruits are also rich in Vitamin C which is essential for maintaining healthy skin and immune system. The potassium present in cherries can help in blood pressure regulation, nerve function and muscle contraction.

Additionally, cherries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. There are many other impressive health benefits of cherries such as heart health, improvement of sleep, exercise recovery, diabetes control, gout and cancer prevention.

Potential Health Benefits of Cherries

The nutritional components of cherries may provide many potential health benefits. Apart from being a rich source of vitamin C and playing a vital role in iron absorption and collagen formation, cherries offer immense health benefits.

May Boost Exercise Recovery

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but people may avoid working out because of the soreness and pain they might experience after the workout. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compounds in cherries may help relieve muscle pain, damage and inflammation post-exercise. Tart cherry juice and concentrate may accelerate muscle recovery, decrease muscle pain and prevent strength loss in athletes.

May Improve Sleep

Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin hormone which is released by our body in preparation for sleep. The juice of tart cherries may also improve sleep in people with insomnia. Additionally, the anthocyanins present in cherries may help to protect our brain cells against the harmful effects of oxidative stress and thereby improve our sleep.

May Improve Heart Health

Cherries have a good amount of potassium and polyphenol antioxidants which can promote heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Cherries may help in maintaining a regular heartbeat and remove excess sodium from the body. This regulates blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular ailments. The anthocyanins, flavonols and catechins present in cherries may protect our hearts against cellular damage and reduce inflammation.

May Help with Gout and Arthritis

Cherries may lessen symptoms of arthritis and gout because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Gout is a type of arthritis which can occur due to the buildup of uric acid. Gout can lead to extreme swelling, inflammation and pain in the joints.

Studies have proved that cherries may suppress inflammatory proteins and reduce symptoms associated with arthritis. Moreover, cherries can also decrease uric acid levels in the body and help people with gout. This stone fruit can help decrease inflammation to potentially lessen future attacks of gout.

May Help in Cancer Prevention

Sweet cherries have anti-cancer properties as they are rich in fibre, vitamin C and carotenoids. Research recommends that eating cherries regularly may reduce inflammation, which can develop many diseases including some types of cancer.

May Promote Skin Health

The extract of cherries may help control the ageing of the skin and reduce oxidative stress. A recent study confirmed that the extract of sweet cherry could be used for skin care. However, if you notice any allergic reaction, immediately discontinue the usage and consult your doctor.

May Help in Diabetes Control

Cherries have antioxidants that can help lower the glucose levels in the blood and thereby control type 2 diabetes. While there may be scientific evidence that consuming cherries help with certain health conditions, this fruit is not the ultimate cure for these ailments.

Side-effects of Cherries

Cherries can be a healthy addition to any diet, but only when consumed in moderation. Generally, eating cherries may not have many side effects or health risks, but it is important to check with your healthcare provider or a registered dietician if you believe that any foods including cherries are causing pain or any gastrointestinal discomfort.

Cherries may negatively impact patients with chronic kidney diseases like acute kidney failure. Furthermore, people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may be sensitive to cherries as the fruit has sorbitol and fructose.

According to the American Kennel Club, cherries may pose a health risk to dogs. The flesh may be safe for the dogs, but cherry pits contain cyanide and may cause intestinal blockages in dogs if consumed in large quantities. Additionally, cherry stems and pits may pose a choking hazard for adults and children. It is advised to remove stems and pits before eating cherries.

How to Eat Cherries?

Always look for cherries that feel firm and plump, appear glossy or bright and store these fresh cherries in the refrigerator. You can store them in a shallow container to avoid crushing the cherries which are at the bottom. Don't forget to rinse your cherries in cool water before eating.

The simplest way to relish sweet cherries is to eat them like a snack. Ensure to remove the pits and stems before swallowing. Frozen cherries can be poured into a small bowl and enjoyed if the cherries are not in season. Both sweet and tart varieties can be an addition to many foods and products like dried cherries, cherry powder and cherry juice can be equally beneficial.

Here are some more ways to include cherries in your diet rather than eating them as a snack −

  • Add frozen cherries to a smoothie

  • Add cooked or fresh cherries to ice cream, pies, crumbles or other desserts

  • Add a bit of tart cherry juice to sparkling water and top it with a lemon wedge to make a mocktail

  • Use dried cherries in baked goods for a kick of natural sweetness


Cherries are very nutritious and offer many health benefits. Not only do they help in reducing inflammation, but also improve sleep quality, promote heart health and boost exercise recovery. You can enjoy sweet or tart cherries as fresh or frozen in diverse recipes or can simply have them as a snack.

Updated on: 09-Mar-2023


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