The power of the cherry: Six surprising health benefits

With cherry season upon us, we have teamed up with Seasonal Berries and sports nutritionist Anita Bean to provide the top health benefits of the humble cherry…

The power of the cherry: Six surprising health benefits

Sports Nutritionist, Anita Bean says: “Cherries are powerhouses of nutrients, packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients. They offer numerous health benefits and, eating them after exercise, may help you get more out of your workout.”

1. Vitamin C

They are a good source of vitamin C. A 150g (5½oz) portion provides 14mg vitamin C, which is 35% of your daily requirement.

2. Muscle recovery

They are a perfect post-workout snack. Cherries may help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after an intense workout, as well as speed up muscle recovery. This is thought to be due to their high concentration of anthocyanins, which have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (Note: although most of the studies were done with tart cherry juice, which has a higher level of anthocyanins, sweet cherries will have similar benefits). 

3. Sleep

They may help you get a better night’s sleep. Cherries contain melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate our sleep patterns. Researchers found that drinking cherry juice 30 minutes after waking and 30 minutes before the evening meal boosted sleep time by 84 minutes and improved sleep quality in people with insomnia. (Note: there is a higher level of melatonin in tart cherries compared to sweet cherries).

The power of the cherry: Six surprising health benefits

4. Inflammation

They can help reduce inflammation. Cherries contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. A growing body of scientific research indicates that inflammation contributes to diseases such as heart disease, arthritis and obesity. One study found that  regular consumption of 280g (9oz) sweet cherries for 28 days lowered levels of inflammatory compounds in the blood, including C-reactive protein (CRP). A high level of CRP in blood is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

5. Arthritis and gout

They may ease arthritis and gout. The compounds that give cherries their red colour (anthocyanins) may act in a similar way to anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, by blocking the actions of certain enzymes. According to studies, eating cherries may offer potential benefits for conditions such as gout, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and sports injuries.

6. Blood pressure

They may reduce blood pressure. People who drank cherry juice concentrate experienced a 7% drop in blood pressure within 3 hours. This is thought to be due their high content of anthocyanins and phenolic compounds, which help relax.

Anita Bean is a registered nutritionist, health writer and author. She is also a consultant at