‘Tis the season to be cherry: The nutritional benefits of a festive favourite

The Aussie cherry season is short-lived, but this juicy, red Christmas fruit is so much more than a tasty treat, so tuck in.

Christmas and cherries go hand in hand.

There’s nothing like having a big juicy bowl of these delicious delicacies in your festive spread or gorging a handful on the go.

The great news is that cherries not only make a scrumptious snack, they’re also super nutritious.

Here are 5 feel-good facts to know before tucking in.

Cherries are packed with goodness

Cherries are mini-sized stone fruits that come in various types and are jam-packed with healthy nutrients.

Research shows they are rich in polyphenols – potent plant chemicals that can help manage blood pressure.

They are also a good source of fibre and calcium and may support treatment of gout.

Cherries are low in sugar

“Cherries are a really great low energy snack,” Nutrition Australia dietitian Leanne Elliston says.

“One cup, which is about 20 cherries, provides around 250 kilojoules,” Leanne says.

“That’s less than a slice of bread, so you can really fill up on this low energy snack.”

Also, cherries rank low on the glycemic index – meaning they won’t make your sugar levels spike – and are a great choice for people with diabetes, she adds.

So, if you’re making a pie or boiling up some jam but want a low-sugar option, cherries are a good choice.

Cherries have plenty of antioxidants

“Cherries are a known antioxidant,” says exercise physiologist and nutritionist Kathleen Alleaume.

“Usually, the giveaway is that red hue, known as anthocyanins and this can help with inflammation,” Kathleen explains.

Cherries have vitamin C

Oranges are not the only fruit packed with vitamin C.

“Cherries are also a good source of Vitamin C,” Leanne says.

“In fact, a cup of cherries provides around half of your recommended daily intake.”

Vitamin C is important for your immune system and can also give your skin a healthy boost, she explains.

But, she adds it’s important to wash cherries before eating them.

“Often, they can have pesticides on them and plenty of dirt and bacteria picked up during transportation and handling, so give them a good rinse in cold water,” she says.

Cherries may help you sleep

If you have insomnia, then tart cherry juice may help you get some shut-eye.

Research shows moderate benefits when some juice is consumed close to bedtime, and that this treatment might be more effective than other common herbal treatments such as valerian.

Delicious ways to enjoy cherries

Cherry cobbler


  • 500g of pitted cherries
  • 2 x 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk


Cook cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves. Combine cornflour and 1 tablespoon of cold water and add to the cherry mixture. Cook for a further 3 minutes or until it thickens. Spoon into a glass baking dish and set aside.

Combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Rub butter into the mix until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and buttermilk and stir to create a soft and sticky dough. Dollop spoonfuls over the warm cherry mixture and bake for 30 minutes at 180C.

Dust with icing sugar.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Cherry-nana smoothie


  • One frozen banana
  • One cup of seeded cherries
  • 1/2 cup natural yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk


Blend together until smooth.

Serve with a sprig of mint leaves.

Written by Alex White.