Tart Cherries: Should They Be Mandatory?

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

2923-1209473_cherries.jpgForget the goji berries, pomegranate, and acai berry for now.

This year, with all the rising costs in the supermarket, we are leaning toward the more familiar fruit, tart cherries, for top nutrition.

Their rich, red flesh boasts plenty of antioxidants and is comparable to blueberries.

Tart Cherry Health Benefits

  • Reduced cancer risk: Cherries contain the anthocyanin, the main antioxidant found in red, blue, and purple foods.
  • Anti-aging: Contain flavanoid antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress.
  • Lower risk factors for heart disease: Lower cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Reduced inflammation and pain: If cherries were able to be used medicinally, they could have the same effect as aspirin.
  • Reduced symptoms felt with gout and arthritis
  • Calming and improved sleep: Cherries contain melatonin which can have a relaxing effect and regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.
  • Good fruit for diabetics: On the glycemic index, cherries are rated at 22 (low). This means they are less likely to cause a fast blood glucose spike.

What Research Says

This is all great, but as always, more research is needed on humans to understand the true benefits.

The good news is that most researchers have seen outstanding benefits with consumption of just 20 cherries or about 1.5 cups per day!

For other super foods, you often have to eat cups and cups of that food to see any health improvement.2927-dried-tart-cherries.jpg

Cherry Recipe Ideas

  • Healthy cherry cobbler made with a nut crust
  • If you have a juicer, add cherries to your favorite juicer or smoothie recipe
  • Add to oatmeal
  • Add to a quinoa dish
  • Stew the cherries with balsamic vinegar, and serve over yogurt
  • Create a cherry sauce to serve over chicken or fish
  • Chop a cherry salsa to serve with whole grain crackers

If fresh cherries aren’t an option, just try to find dried tart cherries without added sugar.

Do you eat cherries?


  1. Michelle

    Can’t drink the cherry juice because of the sorbital. It gives me terrible gas and diarrhea but I love the taste of it. My doctor recommended the tart cherry capsules instead of the juice for IBS. Switched over to the Fruit Advantage cherry capsules and no gas.

  2. Sue

    I grew up with a cherry tree on the yard and I love tart cherries eating all by themselves. They’re an excellent choice of fruit for maintaining a stable blood sugar level.

  3. Karen

    Thank you Bonnie

  4. Seagull

    Oh great. Now the price of cherries is going to be jacked up 🙁

  5. Callie

    I love cherries! They started as something I would throw in my glass of red wine in college so they could soak up some nommy booze and then i would devour them. Because I hated the fake cherries on top of sundae’s I always assumed I didnt like real cherries. How wrong I was and how HAPPY I am they’re good for me!

  6. BAS

    This is great news! I LOVE cherries so now I have a great reason to eat them every day!

  7. Linda

    Dried fruits and berries are so expensive, so I bought a food hydrator and I make my own. Next time cherries are in season pick one up. I also have one of those bag sealing machines. I place my dried fruit in small bags and seal them. They last forever that way. Good luck!

  8. T. Kallmyer

    Thanks, but “sweetened with apple juice” is added sugar. 🙁

  9. Spectra

    I get tart cherries from Door County when they are in season. They also sell dried cherries during the off-season, but they are a lot sweeter. I like them in oatmeal–they’re pretty tasty.

  10. terry

    Omena Organics has dried cherries sweetened with apple juice. No sugar.

  11. Jim

    I can only find cherries when in season, and even then they are quite expensive. Would be interested to know where you can find dried cherries. It’s gotta be better than the goji / acai berry hype.

  12. ted

    I’ve looked for no sugar added dried cherries but can’t seem to find them. Does anyone know stores that sell them? I would love to include them in my oatmeal as I love cherries!

    • Ron Stack

      Brownwood acres in traverse city mi has them.

    • Carol Beene

      Amazon sells them

  13. Bonnie

    There is a company called Michelle’s Miracle that sell the best Tart Cherry Concentrate I have found yet. It really does help with inflammation!