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Nutritional and Health Benefits of Cherries and Tart Cherries

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Sweet Cherries

Latin Name: Prunus avium

Native to most parts of Europe, Western Asia and some parts of Northern Africa.

Sweet in taste.

Mostly eaten fresh

More prone to disease and pest attacks.

The plants are mostly cross-pollinated.

Tart Cherries

Latin Name: Prunus cerasus.

Native to Eastern Europe and South-West Asia.

Sour and tart in taste.

Mainly used in cooking.

Less prone to disease and pest attacks.


About Cherries

Cherries are fruits belonging to plants from the Genus Prunus whose fruits. Although this genus has many plants only a few species provide the commercially valuable and edible cherry and of these the sweet cherry and the tart cherry are well known.

It is interesting to note that the cherry plants grown in low light tend to have larger leaves to accommodate as much light as they can while those grown in bright leaves have thicker leaves and therefore have a higher photosynthesis capacity.

Cherry leaves act as food for some caterpillars. Cherry is a summer fruit and the plants grow in temperate regions all over the world. The 2 species, the sweet cherry; Prunus avium and the tart cherry; Prunus cerasus do not grow well in the Northern regions and hence some other species of cherry are cultivated there.

Sweet cherry is also called wild cherry, bird cherry or gean while the tart cherry is also called sour cherry.

Some differences between sweet cherry and tart cherry are given below.

Cherry Uses

Sweet cherries are eaten alone or in fruit salads, fruit cocktails, desserts etc.

Tart cherries are used to make sauce, preserves, pie fillings, cheese cakes, fruit juice and fruit juice concentrates, liquers and in soups and pork dishes.

Some species of the cherry tree provides excellent wood that is used to make fine furniture.

Nutrition Facts - Sweet Cherries and Tart Cherries

  • Sweet cherry has 63 caloriesl/100 grams and tart cherry has 50 calories/100 grams, Thus both are very low in calories.
  • Cherries are rich in anthocyanin glycosides, the polyphenolic flavonoids, which have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cherries are rich in melatonin.
  • They are rich in several minerals like potassium, copper, manganese, iron and zinc. Tart cherries have a higher copper and manganese content than sweet cherries.
  • Cherries are rich in Vitamin A and C and have low levels of vitamin K and B complex. Tart cherries are much richer than sweet cherries in both Vitamin A & C.
  • Both sweet cherries and tart cherries contain beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Tart cherries, however, contain more than 20 times the beta carotene found in sweet cherries.

Nutrition Facts - Sweet Cherries And Tart Cherries

 Sweet and Tart Cherry fresh, raw, fruits  







Nutritive Value

per 100 grams


of RDA

Cherry type






63 cal

50 cal




16.1 gms

12.18 gms




1.06 gms

1.0 gm



Total Fat

0.2 gms

0.3 gms




0 gms

0 gms



Dietary Fiber

2.1 gms

1.6 gms









4 mcg

8 mcg




0.154 mg

0.4 mg



Pantothenic acid

0.199 mg

0.143 mg




0.049 mg

0.044 mg




0.033 mg

0.040 mg




0.027 mg

0.030 mg



Vitamin C


10 mg



Vitamin A


1283 IU



Vitamin E

0.07 mg

0.07 mg



Vitamin K

2.1 mcg

2.1 mcg









0 mg

3 mg




222 mg

179 mg









13 mg

16 mg




0.060 mg

0.104 mg




0.36 mg

0.32 mg




11 mg

9 mg




0.070 mg

0.112 mg




21 mg

15 mg




0.07 mg

0.10 mg








Carotene, alpha

0 mcg

0 mcg



Carotene, beta

38 mcg

770 mcg




0 mcg

0 mcg




85 mcg

85 mcg



Health Benefits Of Cherries And Tart Cherries

Not only are cherries a nutritional powerhouse, but both the sweet cherry and tart cherry also have many incredible health benefits.

  • Fights Cancer

Sweet cherry and tart cherry are excellent sources of a variety of antioxidants. In fact, both are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that is among the most potent anti-cancer agents.

Also present is the plant phenol ellagic acid which again is an anti-cancer and anti-mutagenic compound that not only prevents but fights cancer.

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Perillyl alcohol is another very powerful compound present in cherries that have been found to reduce the incidence of all types of cancers by preventing the growth of cancer cells.

Sweet cherries also have several cancer-preventive nutrients like fibre, anthocyanins and carotenoids. Of the anthocyanins, the cyanidin are found in good measure in sweet cherries.

In studies, cyanidin has been found to be responsible for scavenging free radicals, stopping the growth of cancer cells and preventing healthy cells from turning cancerous.

  • Fights Gout & Arthritis

Tart cherry contains anthocyanins and bioflavonoids. These compounds reduce inflammation, pain and also prevent the development of gout and arthritis.

The Arthritis Foundation says that drinking tart cherry juice 3 times a day mixed in water benefits in arthritis. Cherries reduce uric acid levels, nitric oxide and C-reactive protein levels, all of which is arthritis causative.

  • Prevents Premature Aging & Eliminates Oxidative Stress

Cherries contain isoquercitrin and quercitrin, the flavonoid antioxidants that slow down the ageing process.

  • Cures Migraine

The anthocyanins and bioflavonoids in both types of cherries reduce inflammation which also helps reduce migraine attacks and cures migraine.

  • Aids In Sleep

The melatonin found in cherries is rapidly absorbed by the body thereby inducing sleep naturally. Tart cherries though have higher levels of melatonin.

  • Retards Spoilage Of Ground Beef

It has been found in studies by US researchers that not only do cherries extend the spoilage time of ground beef in storage, they also reduce the quantity of cancer-causing compounds when they are added to a beef patty. They not only reduced oxidation but reduced the fat content too.

  • Protects In Diabetes

Studies have shown that the bioactive compounds in cherries increase insulin production thereby offering better control of blood sugar levels.

Also, cherries have a low Glycemic index of 22 much lower than many other polyphenolic antioxidant-rich fruits thus making them an even better addition to the diet of diabetics.

  • Benefits In Alzheimer's Disease

Studies have shown that the phenolic compounds, anthocyanins, quercetin and hydroxycinnamic acid in cherries protect the neuronal cells involved in neurological functions.

This protective effect is supposedly carried over to Alzheimer's disease.

  • Improves Cardiovascular And Heart Health

Tart cherries reduce inflammation, cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of atherosclerosis, reduce fat, especially belly fat and body weight. Studies done at the University of Michigan report these benefits.

  • Reduces Recovery Time After Exercise/Relieves Joint And Muscle Soreness

A study done at the University of Vermont showed that drinking tart cherry juice before and after exercise or training reduces strength loss suffered after exercise, decreases pain, reduces muscle damage and aid in faster recovery.

Researchers at the Oregon Health And Science University have found that tart cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.

Also, it has been found that of the two types of tart cherries, Montmorency and Balaton, the Montmorency cherries have the greatest anti-inflammatory properties.

Some Cherry Facts

  1. Sweet cherries came to America along with the English colonists.
  2. There are more than 1000 varieties of cherry trees in the United States but only a few are cultivated commercially.
  3. Each cherry tree produces 7000 cherries on an average.
  4. Darker cherries have higher antioxidant and vitamin content than the lighter coloured ones but tart or sour cherries are bright red rather than dark red but still have far more antioxidant and other nutrient levels than sweet cherries.
  5. The word cherry comes from the Turkish town of Cerasus.
  6. At one time in Kansas, serving ice cream on the cherry pie was against the law.
  7. Cherry was designated as the official fruit of Utah in 1997.
  8. Michigan has almost 4 million cherry trees growing on over 35000 acres; each tree producing 150 -200 pounds of tart cherries.
  9. Michigan produces 75% of the tart cherries in the United States.
  10. Washington grows the largest quantity of sweet cherries.


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Some Of My Other Hubs On Healthy Foods


Cherry Cake - Recipe by Laura Vitale

Cherry Pie with Almond Crumb Topping - Cherry Streusel Pie

HilahCooking : Vodka Cherry Limeade! Cocktail Recipe

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


Balan on September 24, 2014:

After seeing medicinal effects of cherries, I am suffering from severe foot pain due to uric acid of 6.5, tried in many fruit shops, super markets, not able to get it. Can u pl let me know where I can get the cherries in Hyderabad,

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 20, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by, Au fait!

C E Clark from North Texas on August 20, 2013:

Lots of good information and your recipes look and sound so yummy! The very best cherries I have ever eaten fresh off the tree were grown in Western Colorado between Montrose and Gunnison.

Gave you 5 more stars, voted up, useful, and will share!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 16, 2013:

Aurelio, I believe you are inspired enough to eat more cherries in which case the extra vitamin A will certainly make you healthier.

Thanks for stopping by.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 16, 2013:

I probably should be eating more cherries because right now it only sits on top of my occasional hot fudge sundaes. What is Vitamin A good for?

Voting this Up and Interesting.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 14, 2013:

Thanks Levertis. I appreciate your comments.

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on March 14, 2013:

Fresh, sweet black cherries are so delicious, although they are costly. I usually do not know when to stop eating them, so I solve the problem by cleaning them out.

What an interesting hub! Thanks for sharing.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 14, 2013:

@ Paul - glad to have reminded you of happy times. Thanks for sharing, voting and reading the hub.

@ tebo - Thanks and good to see you are inspired.

@ torri - thanks for coming by to read and share.

torrilynn on March 13, 2013:

thanks for sharing the benefits of cherries

i find that some of them a tad sweet but mostly absolutely delicious

great information and wonderful benefits

Voted up and shared

tebo from New Zealand on March 13, 2013:

Wow I didn't realize cherries and tart cherries had so many health benefits. I have a bottle of tart cherry juice in the fridge that I got to try to regulate my sons sleeping patterns. I think I will drink what is left after reading this. Thanks for the interesting information.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on March 13, 2013:


This is another very interesting and useful hub about fruit that we should all be eating. My father was born and lived as a boy in Door County, Wisconsin, which is a peninsula in northeastern Wisconsin jutting into Lake Michigan. The last time I was up there with my father before he passed away, we visited one of his cousins who has a big cherry orchard of the dark sweet variety. The fresh cherries we got were absolutely delicious. Door County is famous for its cherries and fish boils. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 11, 2013:

Thanks, Craig, for the visit and comments.

Craig Gibson from Traverse City Michigan on March 11, 2013:

I am glad to learn of the health benefits of the cherry since I live in Traverse City, MI, the cherry capital of the world.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 10, 2013:

@ Graham - The sour or tart cherry is healthier though both of them have health benefits. I hope you try out the recipes. Many thanks for visiting.

@ moonlake - cherries in any form are my favorite. Thanks for stopping by.

@ Jo - cherries are so irresistible even the birds won't leave them. Thanks for stopping by.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on March 10, 2013:

I have three huge cherry trees in the back garden, they produces delicious sweet cherries every year, but the birds takes the lion's share, just a taste would be nice; we'll have to move fast this year but it's difficult to get to the top of the trees.

Still; it's good to know that the birds are eating healthily.:)) Another great write.

moonlake from America on March 10, 2013:

I love sweet cherries. I like to go to Michgan when the cherries are in season. They are so good fresh from the cherry stands. We had cherry jelly on our toast today. Interesting hub voted up.

Graham Gifford from New Hamphire on March 10, 2013:

Rajan, this was a great article-thank you. I love cherries and this hub was filled with some helpful tips that I hadn't know about. Sour cherries are a favorite of mine. I'm sure to try a few of the recipes-the cherry cake looks lovely.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 09, 2013:

@ Tirralan - thanks for stopping by.

@ Prasetio - thanks for the encouraging comments. Always good to see you.

@ Eddy - thanks and appreciate your sparing time to read and share.

@ Devika - thanks for adding this information. It is always good to know more. Appreciate your coming by.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 09, 2013:

We have a few cherry trees and last year we had a few was so good to taste our own cherries, in Croatia we make strudels, liquors and cherry brandy from the local home-made called rakia.

Eiddwen from Wales on March 09, 2013:

Another great share rajan I vote up and share.


prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 09, 2013:

Brother, you always come up with something useful for us, especially related with health and nutrition. I have never know that cherries and tart cherries have so much benefits for health. You have done a great job by sharing this hub with us. Voted up!


Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on March 08, 2013:

rajan jolly, I love tart cherry juice. It is an acquired taste, but I've grown to love it. It has so many wonderful health benefits, and it's great for relaxation. This hub is so well-written and informative. Great job. Should be a hub of the day, if you ask me.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 08, 2013:

@ Mary- thank you for dropping by. It always feels good to be appreciated.

@ Arun -thanks for the input and read. Much appreciated.

@ Mycee- thanks and its always good to see you.

@ Patricia - I guess cherries will be in the market soon now. It is a delight to eat them so I guess you'll be having them more often.

@ Bake Like a Pro - thanks for the comments. I'm glad you like the info and the videos. I do hope it won't be long before this much adored food will be in the stores. Thanks for sharing the hub and thevisit.

@ Kathryn - thanks for the appreciation. i'm glad the info has been useful to you. Appreciate the visit and sharing of the hub.

@ Bill - doesn't matter which way it gets to the body, my friend; it's going to benefit. Thanks and take care. I hope you have a great weekend as well.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 08, 2013:

I know this will sound silly, but I don't like the texture of cherries, but I love the taste. I'll drink them in a smoothie, and I love their flavoring, but I don't like eating them off the tree. :) As always, great information my friend. Have a great weekend.


Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on March 08, 2013:

I love cherries, especially dark ones.

It's always such a pleasure to read about the different foods, and what the nutrients are. I always learn a lot by reading your articles. I am sharing this one.

Bake Like a Pro on March 08, 2013:

Ahhh... cherries. My absolute favorite fruit. I enjoyed reading all its benefits rajan and cannot wait for it to come to our store. I make a rice dish with sour cherries. As always you have great photos and videos to go with the article. Thank you. Voted up and sharing!!!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 08, 2013:

Hi rajan jolly love love cherries. I like them in cooked dishes and desserts but LOVE them fresh. And, now that I know how good they are for me, I am sure to continue to eat them.

Right now they are not in the stores where I live. I check each week and so far no cherries. I can't wait till they are here again.

Voted up ++++

Sending you many Angels today. :)

DragonBallSuper on March 08, 2013:

one of my favorite ice cream toppings :)

very informative post.


We Keep fresh cherries in the refrigerator and whenever we wish to eat them we normally rinse them in tepid water to remove dust and to bring them to room temperature. We eat the fruit along with almond or cashew nut. Thanks for the informative hub.

Mary Craig from New York on March 08, 2013:

You never disappoint! I like the way you include so much information, from history to recipes. The facts are great too!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 08, 2013:

Carol, all produce have quite good amounts of nutrients. My thrust is on making people aware to go as natural as possible with food so that one gets the full nutritional benefits and also get the full health benefits these foods offer. I appreciate your continued support to my endeavor.

Thank you.

carol stanley from Arizona on March 08, 2013:

I wish cherries were in season longer. However, I do buy the frozen unsweetened which are quite good. Sometimes they are pretty pricey. I do see lots of food value. It is hard to find any produce that does not have a load of vitamins and minerals. Great hub and voting up..sharing.

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