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Exploring the Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits (and Risks) of Barbados Cherry

What is Barbados Cherry?

Barbados cherry is one of the most delicious and healthiest fruits that tastes sweet and comes in a size similar to that of the American cherries. Barbados cherry is also known as acerola cherry and West Indies cherry.

Barbados cherry belongs to the Malpighiaceae family of shrubs and is delicately sweet and sour to taste. This cherry plant is native to tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere and is believed to be originated in the Caribbean and southern Mexico. These cherries are abundantly found throughout Bermuda and the Bahamas.

The Barbados cherries are bright red, have thin skin, are quite juicy that can be eaten raw. Because of their dark red coloring, these cherries are used in jams and jellies, wine, ice creams, popsicles, pies, sauces, and syrups.

Barbados cherries have excellent traditional uses and are used for treating diarrhea, cough, cold, liver ailments, and many more. These cherries are low in calories and comprise a high concentration of vitamin C.

Let us read below and explore more about the cherry, know its nutritional profile, and check out some of its major benefits and potential side effects.

Nutritional Profile of Barbados Cherry

One cup serving or 98 grams of Barbados cherry offers the following nutrients. This information has been offered by the USDA.(1)

  • Calories: 31.4
  • Fat: 0.3 gram
  • Sodium: 6.9 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 7.5 grams
  • Protein: 0.4 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 1650 mg

Below, let us take a look at some of the nutrients found in Barbados cherry.

Carbohydrates

A cup of Barbados cherries provides you with 7.5 grams of carbohydrates. These cherries do not offer any significant dose of dietary fiber. There is no data about the amount of naturally occurring sugars in these fruits.

Proteins

Barbados cherry does not provide enough protein. One serving of the fruit will provide you with only 0.4 grams of protein.

Fats

These fruits do not offer you enough content of fat. One cup serving of Barbados cherries offers just 0.3 grams of fat.

Calories

Barbados cherry is a low-calorie fruit and offers 31.4 calories per cup serving of the fruit.

Vitamin C

One of the best things about Barbados cherries is that they contain a rich amount of vitamin C. Every 100 grams of the cherry provide 1500 to 4500 mg of ascorbic acid, which is more than 30 or 50 times that of an orange or lemon.

Other Vitamins And Minerals

Barbados cherries are loaded with vitamin A, riboflavin or B2, thiamin or vitamin B1, niacin or vitamin B3, pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, and folate or B9. The cherry also contains minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorous, copper, and zinc.

Flavonoids

The tropic cherry is rich in several flavonoids like rutin and is incredibly beneficial for our health. Flavonoids help in preventing cell damage caused by free radicals.

Phenolic Acids

Barbados cherries are packed with phenolic acids, which are loaded with antioxidants and protect your cells from any damage caused by free radicals. They also help in preventing premature aging and many other diseases.

Anthocyanins

The fruit is known for its fair content of anthocyanins that serve as potent antioxidants and provide a bright red color to the fruit. They are essential for fighting harmful germs.

Health Benefits (and Risks) of Barbados Cherry

Barbados Cherry Benefits

  1. Protects Against Vitamin C Deficiency

    Vitamin C helps in improving the function of your immune system, promoting muscle and collagen growth, and also helping in the body’s ability to absorb the iron found in plants, also known as non-heme iron.(2)

    Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy over time. One can experience symptoms of fatigue, and inflammation of the gums initially within one month.

    Studies have shown that Barbados cherries contain a fair amount of vitamin C and it can be absorbed well in the human body. So, supplements made from this fruit can be a good alternative for people with vitamin C deficiency.(3)

  2. It Upholds Blood Glucose Level

    A study has shown that Barbados cherry comprises chlorogenic acid, which could be beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels. This helps in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

    As per a study, polyphenolic compounds in the cherry are essential for lowering glucose absorption.(4) This can prevent hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia.

  3. Improves Immune Function

    Barbados cherry is an excellent source of natural pigments, antioxidants like vitamin C, and other vitamins.

    According to research, consuming foods high in ascorbic acid helps to defend against harmful pathogens and prevent infections by strengthening immunity, removing harmful toxins from the body, and serving as an anti-inflammatory agent. Ascorbic acid also fights against various types of cancers and tumors and prevents premature aging and neurological disorders. Moreover, it can also be used to prevent infections of throats, gums, colds, coughs, and liver diseases.(5)

    A study mentions that antioxidants in Barbados cherries help in eliminating oxygen derivatives of free radicals.(6)

  4. Supports Liver Health

    Barbados cherry can also benefit in supporting your liver health. A study conducted in 2013 showed that lab mice who were given plant extracts from this cherry were able to enhance their liver function and the juice from Barbados cherries could prevent liver damage induced by alcohol in lab mice.(7)

    Another study from 2020 conducted in mice that had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, showed that Barbados improved lipid metabolism and mitochondrial function while reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. However, to confirm this benefit in humans, further studies are required.(8)

  5. Supports Better Functioning Of The Brain

    An incredible benefit of Barbados cherry is it helps in better functioning of the brain. The fruit contains high levels of anthocyanins, which can help in improving the function of your brain receptors and also prevent memory loss and cognitive disorders. The antioxidants present in the cherry protects our brain.

  6. Good For the Body’s Metabolism

    As per a study, it has been found that Barbados cherries are an excellent source of electrolytes and essential minerals.(9) Moreover, these cherries also contain a small amount of folic acid, niacin, copper, selenium, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. Apart from these, these cherries also contain high levels of Vitamin A, vitamin B1, B2, B3, folate, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. All of these benefit in improving the body’s metabolism.

  7. Anti-aging Properties

    Barbados cherries are packed with antioxidants and thus are great for cleansing your body of harmful toxins that causes its breakdown. Bioflavonoids help in improving cognitive function and also prevent the onset of various age-related diseases.(10)

  8. Good For Digestion

    Barbados cherries can help in enhancing your digestive health. Dietary fiber present in Barbados cherries promotes the health of your gastrointestinal tract and relieves bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Additionally, dietary fiber also helps in clearing out dangerous cholesterol from the heart.(11)

  9. Lowers The Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases

    The rich source of potassium found in Barbados cherry boosts heart health. Potassium is a vasodilator and helps relieve strain on our cardiovascular system. It can reduce blood pressure and lower the chances of developing atherosclerosis, and also prevent stroke and heart attack. Barbados cherry also comprises a rich variety of antioxidants, which improves cardiovascular health.(12)

  10. Skin Health Benefits

    One of the best benefits of Barbados cherry is its incredible skin health benefit. A study conducted in 2017, showed that juice from Barbados cherries suppressed UVB-induced skin pigmentation in laboratory mice.(13) However, more studies are required to confirm this benefit of Barbados cherries in humans.

Possible Side Effects Of Barbados Cherry

Some individuals have experienced adverse reactions to Barbados cherries, including sleeplessness, insomnia, and upset stomach. Consuming these cherries in excess can result in diarrhea. Apart from this, consuming too much vitamin C can be dangerous, especially if you suffer from gout.

Some studies show that Barbados cherries could cause allergic reactions in some people. If you experience an itchy mouth, swelling around the lips or mouth, itchy ears, or scratchy throat after consuming Barbados cherries, you should immediately consult with your doctor.

Final Words

Consuming Barbados cherries as food or a supplement can help you gain enough vitamin C content and help during flu season. Moreover, the tremendous benefits offered by these cherries can be one of the reasons to add them to your daily life.

References:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 14, 2023

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