Fresh cherries make an enjoyably sweet snack on their own or as a topping for desserts. Cooked cherries make a great addition to your low carb baking as they work great in pies, tarts, cobblers and crumbles.
Cherries are perfect for beverages as well. A splash of cherry juice in your sparkling water with lemon makes a refreshing virgin cocktail. Or try throwing a few frozen cherries into your smoothies.
Cherries can also be stewed into a compote to spoon over parfaits, yogurt and homemade Keto ice cream. Keep reading for a Keto-friendly recipe for cherry compote using just three ingredients that is so easy, you can whip it up yourself in minutes.
Interestingly, cherries contain bioactive components like polyphenols and carotenoids that have amazingly beneficial effects on your health. They’re also a good source of tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin – all of which improve your mood and sleep quality.
What’s more, cherries may even promote weight loss and prevent obesity-related illnesses, like heart disease and diabetes. So keep reading to find out how including cherries in your meal plan can help you on your weight-loss journey.
Are Cherries Keto Friendly?
Along with lemons and most berries, fresh cherries fall on the list of Keto-approved fruits. With that being said, cherries eaten in moderation are fine, but if you overeat cherries, it could throw your body out of ketosis.
A good serving size is 50 grams of fresh cherries, which yields a moderate 5 grams of net carbs. If you’re following a low carb diet, avoid candied variety or cherries packed in syrup like Maraschino cherries.
How Many Carbs are in Cherries?
A 100-gram serving of fresh cherries contains 12 grams of carbs. If you’re following a strict low carb diet, like Keto, you may wish to consume a 50 gram serving instead, which contains a moderate 6 grams of carbs (5 grams of net carbs once you’ve accounted for the fiber).
How Many Calories are in Cherries?
A 100-gram serving of fresh cherries contains only 50 calories. Fresh cherries are low in calories but candied cherries and jarred maraschino cherries (like the kind used in fruit cakes) contain added sugar and significantly more calories.
|Amount: 100 grams of Fresh Cherries|
|Total Fat 0.3 grams||0%|
|Saturated fat 0.1 grams||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat 0.1 grams|
|Cholesterol 0 milligrams||0%|
|Sodium 3 milligrams||0%|
|Potassium 173 milligrams||4%|
|Total Carbohydrate 12 grams||4%|
|Dietary fiber 1.6 grams||6%|
|Sugar 8 grams|
|Protein 1 grams||2%|
|Vitamin A||25%||Vitamin C||16%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||0%|
Rich in Nutrients and Antioxidants
Cherries offer a number of essential vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds with powerful health effects, namely, vitamin C, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Fresh cherries are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which promotes good health and reduces the risk of chronic disease. These include polyphenols, plant chemicals that prevent cellular damage and reduces inflammation. Diets rich in polyphenols may prevent a number of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, age-related brain decline, and even certain cancers.
In laboratory studies, anthocyanins were found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and cause them to self-destruction, without harming healthy cells.
Cherries contain potent plant compounds that provide powerful anti-inflammatory effects which may benefit those with arthritis and gout. These compounds help reduce the build-up of uric acid, which reduces symptoms like swelling and joint pain caused by inflammation.
Improves Fitness and Endurance
Cherries and cherry products like tart cherry juice and whole cherry powder, have been shown to improve athletic performance and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. The compounds in cherries may also relieve exercise-induced muscle soreness and inflammation.
Cherries are a good source of fiber to keep your digestive system running smoothly. Consuming cherries regularly can fuel healthy gut bacteria and help your bowels move regularity.
Promotes Heart Health
Cherries are loaded with potassium and polyphenol antioxidants that are beneficial for the health of your heart. One cup of pitted, sweet cherries provides 10% of your daily recommended value of potassium, a mineral that is essential for heart health. Potassium helps your body maintain a healthy heart rate and rids your body of excess sodium, thus regulating blood pressure. In fact, higher intakes of potassium are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Improves Sleep Quality
Cherries contain melatonin and tryptophan, which may help improve sleep quality in some people.
A study conducted by the School of Life Sciences at Northumbria University looked at the effects of tart cherry juice on melatonin and sleep quality. The researchers concluded that consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate increased exogenous melatonin, which is beneficial for improving sleep duration and quality. Therefore cherries might be of benefit in managing sleep disturbances and insomnia.
Cherries is generally safe for most people when consumed in normal food amounts.
However, supplements made of black cherry juice and concentrate are poorly understood. More research into their safety is required, so ask your doctor before consuming products like cherry powders and concentrated medicinal extracts.
Consuming large amounts of cherry juice may lead to indigestion, diarrhea, and gas. Some individuals may be allergic to cherries.
Keto Cherry Compote Recipe
- 1 cup pitted, fresh cherries or frozen, unsweetened cherries (thawed)
- 1 cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of Stevia or sugar-free sweetener of choice
- In a small saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil and then reduce heat.
- Simmer the cherries until the liquid has reduced by at least half and begins to thicken into a syrupy consistency.
- Cool and spoon over Greek yogurt. Top with your favorite chopped nuts for an extra dose of protein and healthy fat.
Are Cherries Good for Weight Loss?
According to the USDA, cherries are low in calories containing less than 100 calories per cup. They are also packed with vitamins that give your metabolism a boost. Additionally, their water content helps flush out toxins from your body.
An animal study conducted on rodents by Michigan State University in 2008 found that cherry powder may prevent weight gain. Rats that were fed tart cherry powder combined with a high-fat diet did not gain as much weight or store as much body fat as the rats that were not fed the cherry powder.
Are Cherries a Berry?
Although berries are a type of fruit, cherries are not berries. Cherries are another type of fruit called stone fruits. In botany, stone fruits are known as drupes. Drupes are defined by an outer fleshy part surrounding a single stone (or pit) with a seed inside. The stone or pit inside cherries is similar to the peach, therefore it is a part of the same botanical family.
Are Cherries Good for Diabetics?
Yes, cherries make a great choice for those following a diabetic diet. In fact, they may someday be a type of diabetes treatment. Both sweet and tart cherries contain chemicals called anthocyanins that boost insulin and improve blood sugar control.
Michigan State University researchers recently tested the active anthocyanins in cherries on insulin-producing pancreatic cells in rodents. The cells increased their insulin production by 50% when exposed to the cherry anthocyanins. In one case, insulin production nearly doubled when exposed to the anthocyanins.
Additionally, the rodents’ blood showed significantly lower levels of molecules that indicate the type of inflammation linked to diabetes.
The findings are promising, but more research on humans is needed to confirm these findings.
Are Maraschino Cherries Bad for Your Health?
Maraschino cherries are artificially colored with a certain food dye known as “Red 40”, which is what makes them extremely bright red. This dye contains trace amounts of the benzidine, a known carcinogen, which has been linked with an increased risk of bladder cancer. Red 40 can cause allergy-like symptoms in some people and may cause other health problems as well.
Historically, the dye known as “Red 3” has been removed from most brands of maraschino cherries because of its potential health dangers, but unfortunately, Red 40 is still used today. So if you must top your desserts with cherries, fresh cherries are always a healthier option over the Maraschino variety.