The acerola cherry (Malpighia glabra), also known as the Acerolla, Barbados cherry, or wild crapemyrtle, is a cherry type native to the West Indies and northern South America and is now being cultivated even in India. This cherry looks like your typical bright red one containing 2-3 seeds and grows on a shrub, often with a thorny crown, that reaches about 3 meters in height when fully developed.
Acerola Cherry Health Benefits
In the past, acerola cherries have been used to treat dysentery and fever. New research has suggested that this cherry is an anti-inflammatory and astringent. This cherry contains a high vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium content and has been found to have over 150 phytonutrients in it. Reportedly the richest source of vitamin C amongst fruits, the cherry is known far and wide for its health benefits, such as how it helps with the functioning of the immune system and bowel movements.
This tropical antioxidant fruit cultivated mostly in the Caribbean, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and India is a superfruit when it comes to its vitamin C content. A single cherry of rather small size contains 65 times more vitamin C than what is found in an orange. In other words, the vitamin C content found in one cherry is equal to the minimum daily requirement needed for your body. Isn’t that amazing? Who would imagine that such a small fruit could pack such a healthy punch?
On top of that, human bodies absorb vitamin C from cherries better than they do from supplements. That’s just one more reason to trade in your vitamin pills for fresh fruit.
Because of this, the cherry can help boost your immune system, strengthen your liver, improve the condition of your skin, and increase your body’s ability to repair its own tissues quickly. Colds, infections, hair loss, and dental problems are no match for the cherry. Its high levels of potassium can elevate mood, regulate heart function, and keep blood pressure in check.
The folate present in cherries will help your body form new cells, reduce the risk of heart disease, and protect children against the risk of future mental health problems.
This unique type of cherry has been used for centuries as a way to treat ailments like dysentery and fever. The hidden fighter in this fruit is the supply of vitamin C it packs.
Antioxidant Properties of the Cherry
The cherry contains anthocyanins, which are substances that are highly anti-inflammatory in nature. This means it’s great at relieving headaches. Eating an acerola cherry can have the same effect as taking ibuprofen or aspirin for your headache. In addition, the cherry is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is a known antioxidant. One-hundred grams of an acerola cherry contains up to 1017 IU of carotene.
Regular intake of vitamin A improves vision while reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. The cherry’s antioxidant properties mean it works to fight free radicals, which can have a negative effect on your skin. Eating more cherries leads to healthier, firmer skin.
The antioxidants such as carotenoids and bioflavonoids in the cherry will reduce your chance of developing cancer or heart disease, both of which have become legitimate concerns in modern society. Consuming antioxidant rich fruits is a simple way to prevent these issues while you get to indulge in some truly delicious and exotic fruits.
With over 1,000 different types in existence, there is a cherry out there for everyone’s taste buds. The most familiar types are maraschino, black, bing, and rainier cherries. The choke cherry, black stone cherry, morello, north star, napoleon, and Spanish cherry cherries are some of the less well known types. Many of them come from the subgenus Cerasus and are cultivated in the Northern Hemisphere in at least twenty different countries.
These tasty antioxidant fruits grow best in temperate climates, and their peak season is summer. The seeds of a cherry do require some cold to germinate, which is why they cannot grow in tropical weather. With all the types of cherry, it’s hard to know where to start. Unfortunately, not all the types are edible or as delicious as others.
The most popular types of cherries are: maraschino, black, bing, and rainier cherries. You can find these cherries in supermarkets all across the western world. The following is a list of the more familiar types of cherries, along with some lesser known (but not obscure) ones: Here is a list of cherry types.
Types of Cherries
- Black Stone Cherry
- Choke Cherry
- North Star
- Spanish Cherry
Most often, cherry types are divided into two categories: sweet (P. avium) and sour (P. cerasus). Sweet cherries are often eaten plain, while sour/tart cherries are used for cooking (adding flavor and the like). These two categories have different benefits.
Sweet cherries are less physically health, providing both fiber and vitamin C but not in quantities as significant (to Daily Value) as with sour cherries.
Sour cherries contain high percentages of vitamins A and C and beta carotene. The acerola cherry is reported to have a vitamin C content higher than any other fruit we know of.
The montmorency and balaton varieties of cherries are produced primarily in Michigan. Bing cherries and rainer cherries are extremely well-known varieties, and the former is produced primarily in Michigan. Montgomery cherries are popular in the midwest U.S. and fit into the sour category. They are used frequently as pie fillings or fruity sauces. You’ll find tieton cherries displayed in most grocery stores due to their sweet flavor, large size, and glossiness, which make them appear enticing.