Incorporating cherries into your diet can help you lose weight and increase your energy. You can also gain vital doses of essential vitamins and minerals by eating cherries. Fresh cherries are a nutrient-dense fruit loaded with antioxidants and fiber. There are over 1,000 varieties of cherries that are grown in 20 countries, and they range in flavor from sweet to sour. Cherries are versatile and can be a delicious addition to any recipe or meal.
One cup of cherries contains 90 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 19 grams of natural sugars, 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. Cherries are a good source of Vitamin C, iron and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease. Additionally, cherries have trace amounts of niacin, folate and vitamin A.
Cherries typically fall into two flavor profiles: sweet or sour. Sour cherries are higher in vitamin C and beta carotene; these include the Montomerency and Balaton cherry varieties grown primarily in Michigan. Bing cherries are the most commonly known variety of sweet cherries. They are large, with an even, deep-red coloring. Rainier cherries are also sweet, with a pinkish-yellow skin and a milder flavor. The Tieton cherry is very large, with a glossy skin and a mild, sweet flavor.
There are many healthy ways to enjoy cherries. They are delicious when eaten fresh, and they make a wonderful topping for non-fat yogurt, oatmeal or whole grain breakfast cereals. Dried, sweetened cherries are a delightful addition to fresh salads, granola and trail mixes. Try incorporating fresh cherries into a seasonal fruit salad for a healthy and tasty side dish packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Tips and Suggestions
When shopping for cherries, look for firm, round flesh with a deep red hue. Avoid cherries that are small and less juicy, as they are not yet ripe enough. Cherries that are soft, wrinkled or leaking are most likely past their prime. The peak season for cherries is during the summer, but frozen cherries are a good substitute when they are out of season. Cherries should be washed thoroughly and stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Pull them out at least 10 minutes prior to eating so they can come up to room temperature and taste their best.
References and ResourcesOrganic Facts: Nutritional Value of the Cherry and Strawberry
Produce Oasis: Bing Cherry
Antioxidant Fruits: Types of Cherries