Cherry is an
edible fruit found in many areas of the world. It is fleshy (drupe), spherical in shape, usually red color
more or less dark, more rarely yellow. This small fruit has approximately 50 calories per 100 grams, and has
plenty of nutrients and health benefits...
are eaten fresh, especially in desserts, salads or sauces. The tart cherry, mostly provided canned, frozen or
dried, is five times richer in antioxidants; it would help to prevent cancer and many other diseases. But
what studies really say about tart cherry and cancer?
Two studies have
shown that a diet enriched in tart cherries or taking of anthocyanins extracted from fruit supplements
reduced the occurrence of bowel tumors in mice. In addition, regular intake of anthocyanins has reduced the
required dosage of sulindac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to destroy cancer cells, but
high dosage has been associated with an increased risk of bleeding and gastrointestinal
extracts also slow down the growth of human colon cancer cells in vitro. These results indicate that some
phenolic compounds in tart cherries may reduce the risk of colon cancer, but clinical studies are needed to
confirm these results. The extract of sweet cherry in vitro also reduces the proliferation of cancerous cells
in colon cancer cells and breast cancer, in proportion to the amount used. In short, cherry prevents cancer
cells from reproducing.
kills cancer cells, it is not the only reason to eat it regularly. The tiny fruit is rich in many nutritive
elements which are good for your body.
are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B3, vitamin C, and are slightly laxative. They contain sugars (15 g per 100 g,
including levulose), and pectin, which is useful for jams. They also contain copper, iron, manganese, as well
as potassium which gives it diuretic properties, and fibers which is ideal to stimulate the intestinal
functions. Their caloric content is reasonable to 65-68 kcal per 100 g.
anthocyanins of tart cherry shows antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in vitro studies. They are the
main phenolic compounds of this fruit. As many of these compounds present in plants, anthocyanins have the
ability to neutralize free radicals from the body and thereby prevent the onset of several diseases: cancer,
cardiovascular disease, and various chronic medical conditions. It is mainly due to these powerful compounds
that cherries have the effects of painkiller and muscle recovery. Researchers have also found that their
administration to rats decreased their inflammation and sensitivity to pain, in addition to reducing
anthocyanins would protect nerve cells from damage caused by oxidative stress.
Sweet and tart
cherries are both rich in anthocyanins. However, golden yellow sweet cherries (Rainier cherries), does not
contain anthocyanins when grown in tunnels shelter from the sun. However, when exposed to light, it takes a
slight red coloration and then contains some anthocyanins. In short, the more colorful are the cherries, the
more they contain elements beneficial to health.
have an average concentration of antioxidants about 5 times higher than sweet cherries. They contain the most
antioxidants after blueberries, blackcurrant (also called cassis), blackberry and strawberry. Regardless you
drink the fresh juice or take the extract you will benefits from these antioxidants.
and other Phenolics
contain a relatively high amount of phenols, sometimes called phenolics. Some of these chemical compounds,
Epigallocatechin-3 gallate and others, shown in several studies to be cancer chemopreventive, thus help
reducing the risk of developing cancer. According to a review in the "British Journal of Nutrition," there is
evidence suggesting some Phenylpropanoids may have anticancer effects.
Two varieties of
tart cherries, Montmorency and Balaton, are rich in melatonin, a compound known for its antioxidant
potentiality. Consumption of plants containing sufficient melatonin could well provide protection against
damage caused by free radicals. Melatonin is a sleep regulator; it could also help fight insomnia. According
to Dr. Mercola, “Melatonin has roles in cancer prevention, strengthening your immune system, and may even
slow down cellular aging; in fact, it has been the subject of preclinical research on over 100 different
disease applications. It's your body's "Superhero of the Night," and light is his number one
The stems or
stalks of cherries are used in particular against inflammation of the urinary tract, cystitis, gout and
dropsy. Cherries are supposed to regulate urinary tract and intestines. The fruit is also used against other
painful inflammation and muscle recovery.
Painful Inflammation and Muscle Recovery
- Two clinical studies were conducted to evaluate the
effectiveness of tart cherry juice to reduce pain and promote muscle recovery during intense exercise,
running long distance, 26 km and 42 km. In the first study, the runners consumed 700 ml of tart cherry juice
(variety Montmorency) per day for 7 days before the race and the day of the race. Increasing the intensity of
muscle pain after the race was significantly lower in participants who consumed the cherry juice rather than
In the other
study, marathon runners drank 500 ml of tart cherry juice (Montmorency variety) per day, five days before the
marathon, the same day, and two days after. The level of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress was
significantly lower in the cherry juice group than in the placebo group. In addition, participants who
consumed the cherry juice had a faster recovery of their muscular strength.
Cardiovascular Diseases - A study published in 2006 showed that, in healthy
individuals, consumption of 280 g of sweet cherries per day for 28 days had beneficial effects on various
anti-inflammatory markers. These markers are indicators of cardiovascular risk. Cherry consumption, however,
has no effect on the lipid (cholesterol and triglycerides) profile of subjects.
An in vitro study
has also shown that sweet cherries (tart cherry was not part of the evaluated fruit) inhibit the oxidation of
LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by 70% to 99%. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is a cardiovascular risk
Insomnia -Two small studies have reported a slight improvement in sleep
with consumption of cherries. In 2010, a study was done with 15 people aged 65 and older that suffer with
insomnia. During two periods of 14 days, they consumed daily either tart cherry juice or a placebo. After the
sessions "cherry juice", the number of minutes awake after falling asleep has been improved, but not the time
taken to fall asleep or the total sleep time.
The other study
involved 12 people age 35 to 85 years. For 3 consecutive days, they consumed 400 g of cherries having large
concentrations of melatonin and serotonin. An increase in total sleep time and a reduction in the number of
waking periods and nocturnal restlessness were found.
cherry may cause oral allergy syndrome. Consumption of this fruit may trigger among people allergic to birch
pollen or grass, causing certain light symptoms such as itching and sneezing, as well as asthma, generalized
hives (urticaria), or anaphylaxis. As these allergenic proteins are usually destroyed when cooked, it is
recommended for hypersensitive individuals to consume cooked cherries.
1. Kang SY, Seeram NP, et
al. Tart cherry anthocyanins inhibit tumor
development in Apc(Min) mice and reduce proliferation of human colon cancer cells.
Cancer Lett. 2003;194:13-19.
2. GreenMedInfo.com, Melatonin Research Database
3. Dr. Mercola. Exposing Yourself to Light at Night Shuts Down Your Melatonin and Raises
Your Cancer Risk
4. Tall JM, Seeram NP, et
al. Tart cherry anthocyanins suppress
inflammation-induced pain behavior in rat. Behav Brain
5. Heinonen IM, Meyer AS, Frankel AN. Antioxidant activity of berry phenolics on human low-density lipoprotein and liposome
oxidation. J Agric Food Chem. 1998;46:4107-4112.
6. Dietary anthocyanin-rich tart cherry extract
inhibits intestinal tumorigenesis in APC(Min) mice fed suboptimal levels of sulindac. Bobe G,
Wang B, Seeram NP, et al. J Agric
Food Chem. 2006 Dec 13;54(25):9322-8.
7. Kuehl KS, Perrier ET,
et al. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing
muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J
Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010 May 7;7:17.
8. Howatson G, McHugh MP, et al. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of
recovery following marathon running. Scand.J.Med.Sci.Sports 2009 Oct 21.
9. Consumption of Bing sweet cherries lowers
circulating concentrations of inflammation markers in healthy men and women. Kelley DS,
Rasooly R, et al. J
Nutr. 2006 Apr;136(4):981-6.
10. Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on
the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. Pigeon WR, Carr M, et al. J Med Food. 2010
11. Jerte Valley Cherry-Enriched Diets Improve
Nocturnal Rest and Increase 6-Sulfatoxymelatonin and Total Antioxidant Capacity in the Urine of Middle-Aged and
Elderly Humans. Garrido M, Paredes SD, et al.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Jun 13.
12. Kim DO, Heo HJ, et al. Sweet and sour cherry phenolics and their
protective effects on neuronal cells. J Agric Food
13. Anthocyanin content, lipid peroxidation and
cyclooxygenase enzyme inhibitory activities of sweet and sour cherries. Mulabagal V, Lang GA,
et al. J Agric Food
Chem. 2009 Feb 25;57(4):1239-46.