Internet Asks: "Are Cherries Acidic?"
Cherries, with a pH range of 3.25 to 4.54, are considered a mildly acidic fruit. While they may not be the best option for those following a strict low-acid diet, they do offer numerous health benefits. As always, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant dietary changes, particularly if you have acid reflux or other gastrointestinal concerns.
Understanding the pH scale
The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Foods with a pH below 7 are considered acidic, while those with a pH above 7 are alkaline. Cherries, with their pH range of 3.25 to 4.54, fall into the category of mildly acidic fruits.
Nutritional benefits of cherries
While cherries are mildly acidic, their overall health benefits may outweigh their acidity for some individuals. Here are the main health benefits of cherries:
Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties: Cherries are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, anthocyanins, quercetin, and other polyphenols. These compounds may help reduce inflammation and protect cells against oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Sleep improvement: Cherries, particularly tart cherries, contain melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Consuming cherries or cherry juice may help improve sleep quality and duration in some individuals.
Exercise recovery: Some studies suggest that consuming tart cherry juice may help reduce muscle damage, inflammation, and pain related to exercise, thereby promoting recovery.
Heart health: The potassium content in cherries can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels, hearty rate, fluid balance, and proper muscle and nerve function.
- Weight loss: Cherries are a low-calorie fruit, with a cup of pitted cherries containing about 87 calories, making them a healthy snack option for those looking to manage their weight. They also provide dietary fiber, which aids digestion and contributes to a feeling of fullness.
Side effects of cherries
Gastrointestinal issues: For some individuals, consuming cherries in large quantities may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea, due to their fiber and sugar content.
Allergic reactions: Rarely, some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to cherries, which could manifest as itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Those with a known allergy to cherries should avoid consumption and consult with an allergist for proper guidance.
Tips to reduce acidity while enjoying cherries
Eat cherries in moderation: Consuming smaller portions of cherries can help limit the intake of acidic content. Try incorporating cherries into a balanced diet with a variety of other fruits and vegetables.
Pair cherries with alkaline foods: Combining cherries with alkaline or neutral foods, such as bananas, melons, almonds, or leafy greens, can help balance the overall acidity of your meal or snack.
Choose ripe cherries: Ripe cherries may be slightly less acidic than unripe ones. Ensure you consume cherries that are ripe and sweet, as they generally have a higher pH compared to sour cherries.
Avoid consuming cherries on an empty stomach: Eating cherries along with other foods, rather than on an empty stomach, can help dilute their acidity and reduce the impact on your digestive system.
Chew thoroughly: Thoroughly chewing cherries can aid digestion and help reduce the potential for acid reflux symptoms.
Stay upright after eating: To minimize the risk of acid reflux after consuming cherries, avoid lying down or going to bed for at least 2-3 hours after eating.
Monitor your symptoms: Keep track of your body's response to cherries and other acidic foods. If you find that cherries consistently trigger acid reflux or other gastrointestinal symptoms, consider reducing your intake or consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
Cherries are a mildly acidic fruit with various nutritional benefits, including their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, potential sleep improvement, exercise recovery support, and heart health promotion. However, some individuals may experience side effects, such as gastrointestinal issues, or allergic reactions. As always, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before making significant dietary changes to ensure they align with individual health needs and goals.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Approximate pH of Foods and Food Products. (2007). https://www.healthycanning.com/wp-content/uploads/pH-FDAapproximatepHoffoodslacf-phs.pdf
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin C - Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. (2021). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health: Potassium - Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. (2021). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/
- Kelley, D. S., Adkins, Y., & Laugero, K. D. (2018). A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries. Nutrients, 10(3), 368. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10030368
- USDA FoodData Central: Cherries, sweet, raw. (2019). https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2346399/nutrients
- Lybrate. Cherry Benefits And Its Side Effects. https://www.lybrate.com/topic/cherry-benefits-and-side-effects#:~:text=Intestinal%20gas%2C%20cramps%20and%20bloating,for%20other%20nutrition%2Drich%20foods.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Eating, Diet, & Nutrition. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults/eating-diet-nutrition