Cherries are the fleshy drupes (stone fruits) from the many plants of the genus Prunus.
These sweet and sour fruits are well known as a delicious filling or finishing touch for ice-creams, puddings, etc. They are one of the most famous fruits, and there are good reasons for it.
Apart from being delicious, cherries also possess numerous health benefits that make them an excellent addition to your diet.
Read on to know more about the potential health benefits of cherries and the ways to enjoy these delicious fruits in your diet.
Nutritional Profile of Cherries
Cherries have two major categories, tart cherries or Prunus cerasus L. and sweet cherries or Prunus avium L.
All these varieties are rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that are beneficial to your health. 
According to a database by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup (154 grams) serving of sweet, pitted, and raw cherries provide the following nutrients: 
- Calories: 97
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Vitamin C: 18% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Manganese: 5% of the DV
- Copper: 5% of the DV
- Potassium: 10% of the DV
These nutrients, especially vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, are responsible for the fruit’s potential health benefits.
Health Benefits of Cherries
1. Cherries are Natural Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory Agents.
Cherries are rich in plant compounds that are responsible for the fruits’ antioxidants and anti-inflammatory activities.
Due to the high antioxidant content, cherries may help fight oxidative stress, a condition that causes premature aging and multiple chronic illnesses. 
A research published in the journal Molecules shows that regular consumption of cherries could reduce inflammation and markers of oxidative stress. 
Polyphenols, a large group of plant chemicals found in these stone fruits can reduce inflammation, combat cellular damage, and improve your overall health. 
Cherries contain a significant amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Both of them have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects on your body. 
2. These Fruits May Improve Heart Health.
Several studies have shown that adding nutrient-dense fruits in your regular diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 
Considering the nutrients and plant components, cherries are especially helpful in this regard. The polyphenol antioxidants and potassium found in cherries are known to boost your heart health. 
A 2018 research published in the journal Nutrients found that intakes of polyphenols — particularly flavonols, anthocyanins, and catechins could significantly reduce the risk of heart disease over five years. 
3. Cherries Can Boost Exercise Recovery.
Cherry juice, particularly the tart one can help the athletes in reducing their joint and muscle pain. It’s because the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties found in these stone fruit can soothe pain, inflammation, and muscle damage. 
In a clinical trial on 27 endurance runners reports that those who consumed 480mg of powdered tart cherries regularly ten days before a half-marathon showed 13% faster race times and had less muscle soreness compared to the placebo group. 
Whether you’re an athlete or not, consuming cherries may help you to have faster muscle recovery.
4. These Fruits May Treat Gout & Arthritis.
Adding cherries into your regular diet may reduce the symptoms of arthritis and gout, thanks to their potent anti-inflammatory components.
Several studies confirm that cherries can suppress inflammatory proteins, thus help prevent oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Besides, eating cherries may reduce the uric acid level in your body, which is particularly helpful if you have gout.
In a 2003 research, 10 women ate 2 servings (10 ounces) of sweet cherries after an overnight. They experienced a significant reduction in the uric acid level and lower levels of inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) 5 hours after eating cherries. 
Another study shows consuming fresh cherries could reduce the gout attack by 35%. Additionally, gout attacks were 75% less likely when cherry intake was combined with allopurinol, a gout medication. 
5. Cherries May Improve Sleep Quality.
If you continuous have trouble sleeping, consuming cherries or tart cherry juice may help you.
Melatonin, a substance found in cherries can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Drinking tart cherry juice daily can significantly increase sleep quality and duration. 
Another 2018 pilot study conducted on older adults with insomnia shows that drinking a cup of tart cherry juice before bed could increase the sleep time by 84 minutes. 
More studies are needed to establish this fact as most of the research conducted before used concentrated cherry products.
How to Add Cherries to Your Diet
Cherry is one of the most versatile and incredibly delicious fruit. You can eat these fruits fresh as snacks or add them to various recipes.
Here are some ways you can pair cherries with other foods:
- Add cherries to fruit salad.
- Make a delicious homemade trail mix using cherries, dark chocolate chips, unsalted almonds, and unsweetened coconut flakes.
- Make cherry compote using frozen cherries, yogurt, and oatmeal.
- Add dried cherries to your baked goods.
- Create a fun mocktail by mixing tart cherry juice with sparkling water.
- Cherry barbecue sauce can be used to make meat dishes.
- Add frozen cherries to ice-cream, pies, and smoothies.
Can Dogs Eat Cherries?
Consuming cherries are safe for human, even for pregnant women. However, they are not safe for your dog.
Cherries are known to cause gastrointestinal issues in pets. So, you are highly recommended not to feed these delicious stone fruits to your furry friend.
Cherries are delicious and can be a wonderful addition to your regular diet. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, as well as antioxidants.
Both tart and sweet variations are safe to eat and provide numerous health benefits. Eat them fresh or add to your recipes to create a nutritious and flavorful dish.