Cherries are bright red or vibrant yellow colored fruits which can be eaten without any preparation. They are among the top “superfoods” for antioxidants and joint health due to their high level of anthocyanins. This particular phytonutrient has been proven by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help ease pain from inflammation, arthritis and gout.
A one cup portion of cherries without the pit contains 97 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrate and 20 grams of natural sugar. One of the benefits of cherries is their fiber content. With 3 grams of fiber per cup cherries provide 13 percent of the recommended daily amount. Fiber promotes digestion, prevents constipation and aids with weight loss.
Cherries contain 10.8 mg (18 percent of the daily recommended intake) of vitamin C. This vitamin is necessary for the collagen formation of bones, blood, muscle and blood vessels and helps the body absorb iron. The fruit also contains beta carotene and provides low amounts of vitamin K, vitamin B6 and vitamin A.
The potassium level of cherries is 342 mg (10 percent of the daily recommended intake). Potassium helps the heart and kidneys function properly and supports the body’s digestive and muscular systems. Cherries also contain some copper, manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus and zinc.
Cherries are high in phytosterols (18.5 mg). These plant sterols are used to lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Lastly, cherries are used as a sedative in nausea and vomiting. The fruit is also an old remedy for treating bronchitis, asthma and chronic diarrhea.
In summary, cherries are little powerhouses. Eat and enjoy while in season.