What are the health benefits of cherries?
Consumption of fruits and vegetables has been associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases
such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Phytochemicals, especially phenolics, in fruits and
vegetables are suggested to be the major bioactive compounds for the health benefits.  As
cherries are a rich source of protein, sugar, ascorbic acid, minerals, and antioxidants, cherries
possess important health benefits and inclusion in the daily diet. 
What are cherries?
Cherries are drupes, or stone fruits, related to plums and more distantly to peaches and
nectarines. They have been enjoyed since the Stone Age-pits were found in several Stone Age
caves in Europe. The Romans carried cherries throughout Europe and England along the routes
of conquest. Cherries are grown in several regions of this country, but seventy percent of the
cherries produced in the United States come from four states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and
What are the nutritional facts for cherries?
One serving (73 g) of cherries contain 50 calories, 1 g of total fat, 12 g of total carbohydrate, 0 mg
of cholesterol, 0 mg of sodium, 2 g of dietary fiber, 10 g of sugars and 1 g of protein. Cherries are
also a source of calcium, iron, vitamins A and C.
What are the varieties of cherries?
There are two main types of cherries: sweet and sour. Sour cherries are lower in calories and
higher in vitamin C and beta-carotene than sweet cherries.
SOUR CHERRIES Montgomery - This variety is the best known as sour cherry. It is mostly
canned or frozen for use as pie filling or sauce. They are grown mostly in the eastern and
SWEET CHERRIES Bing is the best known as sweet cherry. It is large, round,extra-sweet and
has a purple-red flesh and a deep red skin that is close to black when fully ripe. The Bing is
available from the end of May until early August. Lambert is the second most popular sweet
cherry. It is smaller than the Bing and is more heart shaped. It has a dark-red skin and a rich
flavor. Lamberts are available a bit longer than the Bing, usually until the end of August. Rainer is
sweet with a yellow or pinkish skin. It is milder and sweeter than the Bing. However, this variety is
grown in limited quantities. Royal Ann has a blush-yellow skin and is often canned or made into
How do we select cherries?
Buy cherries that have been kept cool and moist, as flavor and texture both suffer at warm
temperatures. Cherries have a limited growing season and any fresh cherries grown in the United
States sold after August probably came from cold storage. Small quantities of sweet cherries are
imported from New Zealand during the winter months, but these may be difficult to find. At the
market, pick a handful of cherries at a time and only select the best fruit. This may be
time-consuming, but the reward will be better cherries. Good cherries should be large (one inch or
more in diameter), glossy, plump, hard and dark-colored for their variety. Buy cherries with stems
they should be fresh and green. Reject undersized cherries or those that are soft
or flabby. Avoid fruit that is bruised or has cuts on the dark surface. If you find many damaged
fruits at the market, consider buying cherries somewhere else, as a number of spoiled cherries
will start the others to decay.
How do we store cherries?
Loosely pack unwashed cherries in plastic bags or pour them into a shallow pan in a single layer
and cover with plastic wrap to minimize bruising. Store cherries in the refrigerator and cherries in
good condition should last up to a week. Check the fruit occasionally and remove the cherries that
have gone bad. Wash the fruit before eating.
You can freeze cherries by rinsing and draining thoroughly, spreading them out in a single layer on
a cookie sheet and placing in the freezer overnight. Once the cherries are frozen, transfer them to
a heavy plastic bag. The frozen fruit may be kept up to a year.
How do we prepare cherries?
Most cherries bought at the market are eaten raw, alone or accompanied by other fruits. Simply
wash the fruit and serve with the stems. For cooking, pit cherries either by hand or with a pitter.
Poaching is the most common form of preparation. Drop cherries into a small amount of
simmering water, or a combination of water and wine, and cook for one to three minutes until soft.
Poach using the formula of one cup liquid to two cups cherries.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHERRIES
Cherry Extract benefits of protection from glucose intolerance.
Jayprakasam B with co-workers from Michigan State University purified anthocyanins and ursolic
acid from Cornelian cherries (Cornus mas) and evaluate their beneficial effects on fat
accumulation and insulin resistance in C57BL/6 mice fed a high-fat diet. They fed mice with a
high-fat diet for 4 weeks and then a high-fat diet containing anthocyanins and ursolic acid for an
additional 8 weeks. In the study, anthocyanins and ursolic acid prevented glucose intolerance
induced by the high-fat diet. The anthocyanin-treated mice showed a 24% decrease in weight
gain. These mice also showed decreased lipid accumulation in the liver, including a
significantdecrease in liver triacylglycerol concentration. Anthocyanin and ursolic acid treated
mice exhibited extremely elevated insulin levels. 
Cherries benefits - neural protection?
An in vitro experiment showed the benefits of sweet and sour cherry phenolics on nerve cells.
Kim DO and co-workers from Kyung Hee University, Korea, extracted and analyzed total
phenolics, total anthocyanins, and antineurodegenerative activities of four sweet and four sour
cultivars of cherries. They found that the amount of total phenolics in sweet and sour cherries per
100 g ranged from 92.1 to 146.8 and from 146.1 to 312.4 mg gallic acid equivalents,
respectively. Total anthocyanins of sweet and sour cherries ranged from 30.2 to 76.6 and from
49.1 to 109.2 mg cyanidin 3-glucoside equivalents, respectively. Anthocyanins such as cyanidin
and peonidin derivatives are prevalent phenolics. Generally, sour cherries had higher
concentrations of total phenolics than sweet cherries, due to a higher concentration of
anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acids. Cherry phenolics protected neuronal cells (PC 12) from
cell-damaging oxidative stress in a dose-dependent manner mainly due to anthocyanins.
Cherries may have benefits of anti-cancer activities.
Yamaguchi K and co-workers from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that wild cherry bark
exhibited anti-proliferative activity in human colorectal cancer cells in a cell-culture study.  This
study suggests that cherry may possibly have benefits of cancer prevention, clinical studies are
needed to prove this claim.
Cherries May benefit Arthritis Sufferers
Consumption of cherries and its products has been reported to be health-promoting, particularly
to alleviate arthritic pain and gout. Clinical case reports of patients with gout have shown that
consumption of one-half pound of cherry products daily for 3 d to 3 mo reduced plasma urate (the
metabolite in plasma largely responsible for gout) to normal levels and alleviated attacks of gouty
arthritis.  An article from ARS suggests that eating cherries may also help lessen the severity of
other inflammatory conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or cancer.  During gout attacks,
crystals of a naturally occurring chemical, uric acid,accumulate in joints gommonly in the toes and
cause pain. Urate in blood plasma is a precursor of these uric acid crystals. So, ARS scientists
closely measured volunteers' levels of plasma urate. They found that volunteers' plasma urate
levels decreased significantly over the 5 hours after their mealof cherries. Levels of urate
removed from the body in urine increased overthose 5 hours. These urate results strongly suggest
that cherries can play an important role in fighting gout. So do the results from the scientists'
assays of some other indicators of inflammation. Significant changes in the levels of markers are
an indication of a healthy immune system at work, attacking inflammation.
Markers monitored included C-reactive protein, nitric oxide, and tumor necrosis factor alpha.
C-reactive protein, produced by the liver, increases rapidly during inflammation, such as during a
gout attack. In a healthy body, blood (serum) levels of C-reactive protein are extremely low.
Another reliable sign of inflammation: the unwanted increase in nitric oxide. This biochemical is
thought to play a role in damaging arthritic joints. The third marker, tumor necrosis factor alpha, is
secreted in greater quantities when the body is fighting tumors that may induce inflammation. As
is true for C-reactive protein, a healthy body that isn't fighting an inflammation has very little of this
marker. At the 3-hour monitoring interval, C-reactive protein and nitric oxide were somewhat
lower than at the start of the study. "Even though these levels were not significantly lower, the trend
was in the right direction and so is of interest," notes Kelley.
Unexpectedly, the scientists found no change in levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha. That's in
contrast to a previous study, conducted elsewhere, in which natural compounds in fruits and
vegetables were found to decrease levels of this marker. But the trends toward decreases in the
other two markers do agree with results of other scientists' earlier, in vitro studies of cherry
Source 5 A Day: Fruit of the Month: Cherries
REFERENCE  Jayaprakasam B et al, Amelioration of obesity and glucose intolerance in high-fat-fed C57BL/6 mice by
anthocyanins and ursolic Acid in cornelian cherry (cornus MAS). J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jan 11;54(1):243-8.  Kim
DO et al, Sweet and sour cherry phenolics and their protective effects on neuronal cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Dec
28;53(26):9921-7.  Yamaguchi K and co-workers from Anti-proliferative effect of horehound leaf and wild cherry
bark extracts on human colorectal cancer cells Oncol Rep. 2006 Jan;15(1):275-81.  Kolayli S et al, Chemical and
antioxidant properties of Laurocerasus officinalis Roem. (cherry laurel) fruit grown in the Black Sea region. J Agric Food
Chem. 2003 Dec 3;51(25):7489-94.  Sun J et al, Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common fruits., J
Agric Food Chem. 2002 Dec 4;50(25):7449-54.  Marcia Wood, Source Fresh Cherries May Help Arthritis Sufferers
Agricultural Research Service Information Staff, Human Nutrition, an ARS National Program (#107) Online Publication,
January13, 2006.  Robert J et al, Consumption of Cherries Lowers Plasma Urate in Healthy Women Journal Of
Nutrition. 2003. V.133. P. 1826-1829.
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