Are cherries bad for you?
In this brief article, we will answer the question,”Are cherries bad for you?” We will look at some health risks of consuming too much cherries. We will also look at the nutritional content of cherries. We will finally briefly discuss some health benefits of eating cherries.
Are cherries bad for you?
No, cherries are not bad for you. Cherries contain essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, C and K. They also are loaded with dietary fiber, antioxidants and minerals such as Magnesium, phosphorus and potassium (1).
However, as with many other foods, consumption of too many cherries can have some potential health risks, we will get to that briefly.
What are the potential health risks of overconsuming cherries?
Cherries can cause digestive distress
People that have a sensitive stomach should steer clear of cherries or cut down on the amount of cherries they consume. This is because cherries are a natural source of salicylates (2).
Salicylates are salts or esters of salicylic acid and occur naturally in plants as an immune hormone, preservative and natural pesticide protecting plants against numerous diseases, fungi, insects and bad bacteria (2).
Overconsumption of cherries can result in gastrointestinal problems such as gas, bloating and diarrhea for people that have salicylate sensitivity.
Other symptoms of salicylate sensitivity include (2):
- Nasal polyps
- Exacerbation of asthma
They contain high sugar content
Cherries are also high in the sugar content particularly the dried cherries. A cup of dried cherries can contain as much as 30 grams of sugar.
Although cherries contain natural sugar, over consumption of cherries can result in sugar build up which can cause high blood pressure, result in weight gain, trigger diabetes, result in inflammation and fatty liver disease (3).
They can result in allergic reactions
Some people might experience cherry allergies. This usually occurs when the immune system overreacts to a protein the cherries otherwise known as an allergen (4,5).
Cherries allergies are usually classified in two namely primary and secondary allergies. The primary allergy occurs in infancy and is characterized when a person is allergic to the cherry fruit (5,6).
Secondary allergy on the other hand occurs in older children and adults who already have an existing primary allergy to pollen (5,6).
They can result in diarrhea
Eating too many cherries can also result in diarrhea. This is because they contain high amounts of dietary fiber that results in effects such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and constipation (7).
However you can relieve all these effects by taking more fluids and exercising but most importantly moderating your cherries intake.
What is the nutritional content of cherries?
As earlier mentioned cherries are nutrient dense with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A cup equivalent to about 154 grams of raw, sweet and pitted cherries can typically provide (8):
- Calories: 97
- Protein: 1.63 grams
- Carbohydrates: 25 grams
- Dietary fiber: 3.23 grams
- Vitamin C: 18% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)
- Potassium: 10% of the Recommended Dietary Intake
- Copper: 5% of the Recommended Dietary Intake
- Manganese: 5% of the Recommended Dietary Intake
What are some health benefits of eating cherries?
They are full of antioxidants
Cherries are an excellent source of antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory compounds. Antioxidants are important because they help fight off free radicals which can result in cell damage.
They also slow down aging and keep at bay chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and obesity (1).
They can help protect against diabetes
Cherries can as well help protect against diabetes. This can be attributed to the anti-inflammatory effects that keeps the body healthy. Cherries also have a low glycemic index which means they do not cause a spike and crush in the levels of blood sugar and insulin (9).
They can provide arthritis relief
Multiple research has found consumption of cherries to be beneficial for people suffering with osteoarthritis. Therefore incorporation of cherries as fruits or 100 percent cherry juice can help alleviate any joint pains (1).
In this brief article, we have answered the question,”Are cherries bad for you?” We have looked at some health risks of consuming too much cherries. We have also looked at the nutritional content of cherries. We finally briefly discussed some health benefits of eating cherries.
1. Kelley DS, Adkins Y, Laugero KD. A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries. Nutrients. 2018;10(3):368.
2. Baenkler HW. Salicylate intolerance: pathophysiology, clinical spectrum, diagnosis and treatment. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2008;105(8):137-142.
3. Alam YH, Kim R, Jang C. Metabolism and Health Impacts of Dietary Sugars. J Lipid Atheroscler. 2022;11(1):20-38.
4. Gargano D, Appanna R, Santonicola A, et al. Food Allergy and Intolerance: A Narrative Review on Nutritional Concerns. Nutrients. 2021;13(5):1638.
5. Pravettoni, V., et al. Cherry Allergy: How To Decrease The Allergenicity Of Cherry Industrial Derivatives. J Allergy and Clinical Immuno. 2007, 119.
6. Reuter A., et al. A critical assessment of allergen component-based in vitro diagnosis in cherry allergy across Europe. Clin Exp Allergy. 2006 Jun;36(6):815-23.
7. Bosaeus, I. Fibre effects on intestinal functions (diarrhoea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome). Clinical Nutrition Supplements, 2004, 1(2):33-38.
8. Cherries, sweet, raw. USDA, 2019.
9. Faienza, M.F., et al. Novel insights in health-promoting properties of sweet cherries. J Funct Foods. 2020, 69.