Recognized by the National Day Calendar, January third has become the national chocolate-covered cherry day (1).
Cherries are a beloved nutritious fruit, so much so that according to Real Food Encyclopedia, an average American eats 2.6 pounds of cherries yearly (2).
Are cherries safe to eat?
Before eating anything, we should know the benefits and risks associated with the food.
This article will inform you about the different nutritional facts about cherries. Are cherries good for health? Are cherries acidic or alkaline? Should you be eating cherries?
Read here and find out.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, below are the nutrients present in one hundred grams of cherries (3):
|Amount per hundred grams
Are Cherries Acidic or Alkaline?
To understand whether cherries are acidic or alkaline, we must first understand what acid and alkali mean.
What does Acidic and Alkaline Mean?
Food’s acidic and alkaline chemical properties show where the food’s pH value lies. The pH value indicates hydrogen ion concentration in a solution and is measured using a pH scale.
The pH scale ranges from zero to fourteen, with seven being the neutral pH value (4). If the pH value falls below seven, the compound is considered acidic.
The closer the value is to zero, the more acidic it is.
If the value rises from seven, the compound is considered alkaline. The closer the value is to fourteen, the more alkaline it is.
The pH level of Cherries
Cherries have a pH value of around three to four, which is considered highly acidic. The pH of cherry juice is measured at around 3.0 to 3.35, so it is equally acidic.
What Makes Cherries Acidic?
Four ingredients contribute to the acidity of cherries. The first is vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, which has a pH of around three, increasing the acidity of cherries. The second is vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, which has a pH range of five to seven. The third is vitamin B3, also known as Niacin, which has a pH range of two to 5.
However, the fourth ingredient, malic acid, is the greatest contributor to the acidity of cherries. Malic acid is in the highest amount in cherries than the other three (almost 2%) and has a pH level of around three (5).
Types of Cherries and Their Acidity
Though there are wide varieties of cherries, all these varieties fall under two categories: tart cherries and sweet cherries.
Tart cherries have a lower sugar concentration and are sourer than sweet cherries. There are almost three hundred types of tart cherries, including English Morello, North Star, and Early Richmond.
Sweet cherries tend to be darker in color and larger than tart cherries. There are over a hundred different types of cherries, with black cherries being the sweetest. Other sweet cherries include Lapins, Lambert, Chelan, and Bing.
How Acidic are Cherries Compared to Other Fruits?
Fruits make up most of the acidic food, and cherries are not the most acidic fruits. In fact, according to Health Central, all fruits are acidic (6).
The most acidic fruit is lemon, which has a pH of around two to three, even lower than that of cherries. This means that lemons are as acidic as vinegar.
Some other fruits that fall in the same pH range as cherries include:
How to Measure pH Level of Cherries
If you want to measure the pH level of cherries at your home, follow the following instructions:
- Destem and pit the cherries. Pitting cherries refers to removing the stone inside the cherry.
- Crush the cherries to get cherry extracts.
- Use a litmus paper and place it on the extract. You can order the litmus paper online or get it from the store.
- If the litmus paper turns red, the solution will be acidic. The redder the litmus gets, the greater the acidity of the cherries.
Health Benefits of Cherries
Many pieces of research have been conducted to verify the different health benefits of cherries. Some of these health benefits include:
A study conducted in 2018 showed that plants such as cherries contain Phyto- melatonin that helps regulate the circadian rhythm and helps with insomnia (9).
This was proved in another study involving eleven men who have insomnia (10).
Cherries contain the phenolic compound anthocyanin, which has anti-inflammatory effects on several health conditions.
The anthocyanin inside cherries slows down glucose production to control high sugar levels. A study showed that tart cherries contain compounds that inhibit enzymes in diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases (11).
A 2019 review studied the effects of cherries in treating Gout, a form of arthritis that causes urate crystals to form in the joints that can cause inflammation (12).
Cherries can inhibit the inflammatory response in Gout and prevent pain.
Improved Heart Health
Studies show that cherries’ polyphenols such as anthocyanins and falconols protect the heart from cellular damage and reduce cardiovascular inflammation (14).
Workout and Exercise Help
Research shows that tart cherries can reduce pain caused by exercise and prevent muscle damage (15). This is due to their anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant concentrations.
Risks Involved with Cherries
Although there are many benefits to eating cherries, there are also some risks. Some of these risks include:
According to dietitian Leah Johnston, cherries contain salicylates which can cause diarrhea, gas, and bloating (16). Eating too many cherries can cause salicylate toxicity which could cause many problems.
High Sugar Content
Cherries are high in sugar content and become an obesity risk. Eating too many cherries can lead to increased blood sugar levels, which could cause tooth decay.
Triggering Acid Reflux
Although there is no evidence that eating cherries could cause acid reflux, patients suffering from acid reflux are still at risk. Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when stomach acid leaks into the food pipe (esophagus) and causes a burning sensation in the chest area (17).
Eating too many cherries can trigger acid reflux. Since cherries are highly acidic, eating too many could aggravate acid reflux.
Gastritis refers to the inflammation of the stomach lining (18). Patients suffering from gastritis should avoid eating cherries. Cherries contain a high fiber content and high amounts of organic acids, both of which can irritate the lining of the stomach.
How to include Cherries in Your Diet
Cherries are versatile and can be included in your diet in many ways. Both sweet and sour cherries can be used in different ways. Some ways you can include cherries in your diet are:
- Eat them fresh and Raw
- Dip them in chocolate and eat them
- Make a chocolate Tart
- Make a fruit salad
- Use dried cherries in baking
- Make a cherry juice
- Make a cherry barbecue sauce
- Add frozen cherries to make a smoothie
- Make a salsa
Cherries are versatile enough to be used in almost any sort of recipe. You can include many alkaline foods such as yogurt and vegetables to offset the acidity in the cherries. Cherries come in various products, including juices, powder, and extracts.
Research shows that Montmorency cherry contains the highest phenolic compounds and antioxidants (19). The more sour or tart the cherry is, the greater the number of antioxidants. On the other hand, dried cherry contains the highest amount of sugars.
How to Prepare Cherries
First, remove the stem and the seed from the cherry. A cherry pitter is a useful tool for this purpose. If you do not have a cherry pitter tool, you can use a knife and slice the cherry from the side, open it, and remove the seed.
When making cherry juice, you can prevent the juice from splashing on your clothes by putting the cherries in a plastic bag. This will make it cleaner and easier.
One of the best things you can do with cherries is to freeze them in cherry season so you can enjoy them year-round. Wash and pit the cherries and then place them in an airtight container. Place the container in a freezer and enjoy the cherries even in the off-season.
Are cherries acidic or alkaline? The answer is acidic.
Cherries are one of the most prominent acidic fruits found in nature. Cherries also contain plenty of nutritional benefits that make them highly recommended fruit to eat.
However, eating too many cherries can do more bad than good. So, cherries are great for your health, but only if eaten in moderation.
1. Is Cherry Juice Acidic?
Yes, cherry juice is just as acidic as raw cherries.
2. Which Fruits are Alkaline?
All fruits are considered acidic as all fruits have a pH level below seven.
3. Which Fruits are Least Acidic?
Bananas and melons are considered some of the least acidic, with a pH range of five to six and six to almost seven, respectively.
4. Do Cherries Contain Citric Acid?
Yes, cherries contain citric acid. Many acidic fruits such as lemons, pineapples, and grapefruits contain citric acid.
5. What Makes Cherries Sour?
Malic acid gives cherries their tartness. Cherries contain about two percent malic acid content.
6. Can I Eat Cherries if I Have Acid Reflux?
It is highly recommended not to eat cherries if you suffer from acid reflux. However, while cherries might trigger acid reflux in some, in others, it is not harmful as long as they are taken in fewer amounts.
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