October 09, 2019 · Written by Foodtolive Team

What Is the Difference Between Tart Cherries and Sweet Cherries

Have you ever noticed that the grocery store carries two types of cherries to pick from: tart and sweet. For many, sweet cherries may seem like the obvious choice, especially if they are going to be eaten fresh. After all, eating a handful of sour cherries does not seem appealing.

Taste is the main difference between tart cherries and sweet cherries, and it is what determines each type’s use. Sweet cherries are perfect for snacking, and tart cherries are best suited for baking.


Health Benefits Of Cherries

The health benefits that cherries offer are one more reason to love them.

Both types are highly nutritious and packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. They are useful for supporting similar body functions, such as inflammation, muscle recovery, and sleep.

However, sweet cherries have been shown to be more effective than tart cherries in some areas, and vice versa. It’s important to eat both types to get the most out of what cherries have to offer.

Rich Source of Antioxidants

Cherries are one of the top 20 foods with the most antioxidants. In fact, one cup of cherries contains 4,873 antioxidants.

Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds found in many foods. They have been shown to slow down oxidation. While oxidation is a normal process within the body, it produces free radicals that damage cells and affect the overall health of the body, from the skin to vision and even the heart.

Melatonin, phenols, quercetin, and the flavonoid anthocyanin are the primary antioxidants cherries have. All of these are vital to reducing the chance of disease and keeping bodily functions running smoothly.


Tart cherries, specifically Montmorency cherries, contain melatonin, a compound produced by the body that regulates sleep and the circadian rhythm.

A University of Texas study found that when eaten regularly, the melatonin within this fruit can promote more restful, undisturbed sleep.

Melatonin is also thought to be an essential compound in protecting brain health and a possible deterrent against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.


Inflammation And Heart Health

Sweet cherries have better anti-inflammatory properties than their tart counterparts. They contain more considerable amounts of anthocyanin phytonutrients, a compound that gives cherries their signature red hue.

This compound has been linked to reduced risks for heart disease, plaque formation, and cancer.

Bing cherries, which are large, juicy, and very sweet, have some of the best effects for lowering inflammation, making them ideal for easing the symptoms of arthritis and gout.

Tart cherries have less of an impact on inflammation, as they contain very low levels of these compounds. In particular, rainier cherries, which are known for their vibrant yellow and red coloring, have almost none.

Promotes A Healthy Digestive System

Sweet cherries have a rich fiber content, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system. With three grams of fiber per serving, cherries are an easy way to get the daily recommended fiber content.

Among the many things fiber does, it wards off constipation and reduces the chance of developing digestive disorders such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Additionally, it can also improve cholesterol levels and even help with weight loss by preventing hunger pains and energy drops by stabilizing blood sugar levels.


Protects The Immune System

Cherries are very high in vitamin C; a serving has 16% of the required daily intake. In addition to keeping the immune system healthy and preventing disease, it is also a necessary vitamin for regular bodily functions.

Contain Electrolytes

Cherries contain about 260 milligrams of potassium per serving. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps keep the heart, kidney, muscles, and nerve cells functioning correctly.

By balancing the body’s water levels, potassium helps keep muscle cramps from developing and can aid in post-workout recovery.

Better Bone Health

Sweet cherries are a good source of the mineral boron, which works to balance the body’s calcium content and improve bone health.

This may help to prevent osteoporosis and other bone diseases that can occur with age.


Bottom Line

Tart cherries are excellent for regulating sleep because of its melatonin content. Sweet cherries are ideal for digestive health thanks to their high levels of fiber. They are also a natural source of anti-inflammatory compounds.

When it comes down to it, tart and sweet cherries are both extremely antioxidant-rich foods. They are both beneficial for promoting many bodily functions and protecting against disease.

Cherries are also as full of flavor as they are in antioxidants, so get both and enjoy everything they have to offer.

While fresh cherries won’t be back in season until the summer, you can still enjoy their flavors all year long. Add them to homemade trail mix, oatmeal, yogurt, or alone as an on-the-go snack.

Look for Organic Dried Bing and Montmorency Cherries in the Food to Live Store.