The Benefits of Montmorency Cherries | Healthy Eating
Montmorency cherries contain vitamins, antioxidant compounds and fiber, which may help decrease the risk of a variety of serious medical problems. Also known as tart or pie cherries, Montmorency cherries are the most widely cultivated type of sour cherry in the United States. These cherries are available fresh during July and August, but are most often consumed canned, frozen or dried. Sour cherries like the Montmorency are similar in nutrition to popular sweet cherry varieties like Bing or Lambert cherries, but are a richer source of vitamins A and C.
A 1-cup serving of raw, pitted Montmorency cherries contains 2 1/2 grams of dietary fiber. This amount supplies 8 percent of the recommended daily allowance of fiber for a healthy adult following a 2,000-calorie diet. Sour cherries contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. A high overall intake of both types of fiber may help regulate bowel movements and prevent diabetes and high blood cholesterol. A 2009 "Nutrition Reviews" report added that dietary fiber may also decrease the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, obesity and hypertension.
Montmorency cherries fulfill 25 percent of the RDA of vitamin C in every 1-cup serving. Vitamin C supports the health of the bones, blood vessels, skin and immune system. Its antioxidant properties allow it to prevent DNA damage by inhibiting the activity of free radical compounds. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, eating plenty of vitamin C-rich foods like sour cherries may lessen the risk of cancer, atherosclerosis, gall bladder disease, stroke, heart disease and osteoarthritis. Exposure to light, air and heat significantly reduces the concentration of vitamin C in produce. Maximize the amount you receive by storing cherries in the refrigerator and consuming them within three to four days of purchase.
Every cup of fresh Montmorency cherries provides 1,989 International Units of vitamin A, or approximately 40 percent of the recommended daily intake of the vitamin. Vitamin A is required for cellular reproduction, eye health and the proper functioning of the immune system. Adequate intake of vitamin A may help prevent cancer and eye disorders like cataracts or age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so consume cherries with a source of fat for the maximum absorption in the intestines. Try adding pitted, sliced Montmorency cherries to a salad tossed with olive oil-based dressing, or incorporating cherries in sauces or salsas used to top grilled chicken or fish.
Sour cherries like Montmorency cherries contain a high concentration of anthocyanins, the antioxidant flavonoid compounds that are responsible for the dark coloring of cherries and other deeply colored fruits like grapes. A 2009 study conducted at the University of Michigan found that the anthocyanins in Montmorency cherries significantly increased the antioxidant activity in the bodies of adults up to 12 hours after eating 1 1/2 cups of the sour cherries. The scientists hypothesized that eating sour cherries regularly could reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation-related disorders like arthritis. Flavonoids like anthocyanins may also help prevent osteoporosis, ulcers, infections and digestive problems.