The Many Health Benefits of Dark Sweet Cherries

If you have had the pleasure of eating a bowl full of dark sweet cherries straight off the tree, you know there are few greater culinary pleasures in life. These stone fruits are some of the most nutritious and beneficial fruits you can eat. Though a few too many servings of cherry pie may add to the waistline, fresh cherries eaten raw or thrown in a fruit salad are surprisingly good for you. 

Rainier and bing cherries are the two most common cherry varieties eaten in the United States. Though these sweet, delicious fruits are often dark red in color, they can range from yellow to black, hitting nearly every shade in between. 

Are Dark Sweet Cherries the Same as Tart Cherries? 

Cherries are often lumped into two groups based on their predominant flavor, with sweet cherries and tart cherries being the two main groups. Despite the differences in flavor, both groups of cherries are especially nutritious and are great sources of dietary fiber and important vitamins and minerals like potassium and vitamin C. 

Tart cherries are different from sweet cherries when it comes to some of the health benefits they provide. For example, some studies have suggested that tart cherry juice and juice concentrates can help speed muscle recovery after strenuous exercise. Sleep studies have also been done using tart cherry juice to evaluate changes in melatonin levels, sleep quality, and sleep duration. 

In other areas, such as heart health, there is less difference between the benefits of sweet and tart cherries. Many of the benefits, including those derived from the cherry’s high levels of anthocyanins, are linked to the dark red color of the fruit itself, which is present in all flavors of cherry. 

Are Dark Sweet Cherries Healthy?

Fresh cherries of any color are very healthy. When preserved as all-natural frozen fruit, cherries can maintain much of their nutritional benefit. As a good source of dietary fiber, cherries are a great way to get your daily value of fiber while also gaining the anti-inflammatory benefits of the powerful antioxidants cherries possess. 

Like many other dark red fruits and vegetables, both tart and dark sweet cherries are rich in anthocyanins, polyphenol compounds that have been discovered to have a wide range of health benefits. These compounds are found in other fruits such as cranberries, raspberries, and blueberries, all of which are known to be extremely good for you. Anthocyanins have been found to help reduce your chances of cancer and heart disease, and have been shown to help regulate a variety of other metabolic processes throughout the body.

One of the most important of these benefits is the reduction in oxidative stress that is associated with long-term chronic diseases such as heart disease and hypertension. Arthritis and gout are also on the list of diseases that cherries may help fight by depressing levels of uric acid and helping to quell inflammation.  

Relatively low in carbs and total fat, cherries are high-quality sources of many different nutrients while still being relatively low in natural sugars. A quick list of some of the most important nutrients found in cherries includes:

  • vitamin C
  • calcium
  • manganese
  • copper
  • magnesium
  • vitamin K
  • potassium

Many different fruits and vegetables may be packed with nutrients if eaten fresh, but some fruits, like dark sweet cherries, have a short harvest season. That means for most people, and for most of the year, the health benefits of cherries are only going to come from frozen or fruit, or by drinking cherry juices and concentrates. 

Cherries for More than Just Flavor

At FruitSmart, we know that careful attention to detail is needed in the processing of any fruit to maintain as high a level of nutrition as possible in the juices, concentrates, dried fruits, and other products we offer. 

Nutrition is important if you are going to be bringing almost any product to market today, but flavor is important as well. No matter how health conscious consumers get, no one is going to buy food if they don’t like the flavor. This has put food producers in a bind in recent years as consumer pushback against artificial additives, flavors, and colorants have sent food manufacturers searching for new ways to get the great taste people demand into their products. 

FruitSmart essences, concentrates, and purees can all be great ways to bring the flavor of cherries into the recipes and products you depend on to bring your customers back time and time again. Our all-natural products are made to the highest standards to ensure the maximum amount of flavor and color found in the fresh version of our fruits can be retained for use in your products in as many ways as possible. 

If you have been looking to change your products to keep up with the clean label trend that has only strengthened in the last year, partnering with FruitSmart could be the answer you are looking for. More than just giving out free samples, we work with both new and established partners to see what possibilities exist to bring out the best flavors, colors, and nutritional value our many products can provide. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help. 

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