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Cherry vs Cranberry - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Cherry
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Cranberry

Introduction

Externally, cherries and cranberries may look quite similar, but nutritionally they don’t have much in common. Fresh cherries and cranberries are seasonal fruits, however, frozen versions can be found in grocery stores through winter.

Fully ripe cranberries turn a deep red, while those that unripe are pale pink or white color. Cherries are heart-shaped to nearly globular and vary in color from yellow through red to nearly black.

Varieties

Cranberries belong to the family Ericaceae. The taste of cranberries is as tart as lemons, because of their low sugar content. There are more than 100 varieties of cranberries, of which the most famous are;  Ben Lear, Crimson Queen, and Early Black. Cherry is the fruit of many plants which belong to the genus Prunus. The taste of cherries is sweet with a touch of acidity. The most common cherries types are Big Cherries (sweet cherry), Rainier Cherries, Queen Cherries, and Montmorency Cherries.

Uses

Cranberries are used in making cranberries juice or can be cooked into jelly and compote. They also can be used in making muffins, cakes, and bread. Several alcoholic cocktails, such as Cosmopolitan are made from cranberry juice.

Cherry is used as food and medicine. In the culinary world, cherries are often used in desserts, jams, salads, cakes, and so on. 

Nutrition

In this section of the article, we are going to discuss the nutritional data of cranberry and cherry focusing on the differences

You can find nutrition infographics at the bottom of this page that visually show the differences between these products.

Micronutrients

The amounts of protein and carbs are almost equal in these fruits. However, cherries contain more mono- and polyunsaturated fat, but cranberries contain more fiber and less sugar. Both fruits contain no cholesterol. 

Vitamins

Both fruits are packed with different vitamins in different amounts. Cherries contain 19 times more Vitamin A, 7 times more Folate, and 2 times more Vitamin B3 than cranberries. The levels of Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B1, are also higher in cherry. On the other hand, cranberries contain 17 times more Vitamin E and 2 times more Vitamin K. Cranberries are also richer in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and B5. 

Minerals

Cherry is relatively higher in minerals than cranberry. It has 2 times more potassium, more calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus than cranberry. It is important to highlight that cranberries have less sodium than cherries. Both have an equal amount of zinc.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index of cherry is lower than that of cranberry. The GI of cherry is equal to 22, cranberry has a GI equal to 45 [1].

Acidity

On average, the acidity of cranberries is lower than that of cherry, which means cranberries are more acidic. Cherry has a pH equal to 3, whereas cranberry has a pH equal to  1.3.

Calories

Cherries have a few more calories than watermelon. It has 50 calories per 100 g, while cranberry has 46 calories per 100 g

Health Impact

Weight Loss

Cherries are low in calories, also they are rich in vitamins and have a moderate water content, which means they can help to flushes out the toxins from your body. According to studies, cherries can help to reduce overall fat levels and the risk of diseases associated with a high-fat diet, including type-2 diabetes and heart disease [2].
Cranberries alone can never make you lose weight, nevertheless, they are low in calories, rich in fiber, and can be included in your diets.

Cardiovascular Health

Cherries are rich in strong antioxidants, such as polyphenols, anthocyanins, and flavonols, which may play an important role in fighting against cellular damage and keep your heart healthy. One study showed that a high intake of polyphenols is connected with decreasing the risk of heart disease [3].  Cranberries are also high in antioxidants that may be beneficial for heart health. According to studies, cranberry juice can help to lower the level of LDL cholesterol and decrease stiffness in blood vessels among people with heart disease [4]. 

Diabetes

Cranberries contain high levels of PACS, which may help keep glucose levels balanced. Research shows that drinking unsweetened cranberry juice helps people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels [5]. Cherries could be a healthy part of your diabetic diet, due to their high content of vitamin C and potassium. According to the rat study, the extract of cherries can be useful in controlling blood glucose levels, also cherries appear to aid in diabetes control [6]. 

Cancer

Based on several studies, antioxidants found in cherries may help to slow the growth of cancer cells. Moreover, they are rich in melatonin, which shows cancer-preventive potential in laboratory studies. The animal study showed that these compounds reduced the growth of colon cancer cells in mice. However, more research is needed [7].

Cranberry phytocompounds also have a strong protective effect against cancer. Studies show that proanthocyanidins seem to influence gene expression to decrease the growth of cancer cells and increase their self-destruction [8].

Anti-inflammatory Effect

Both cherries and cranberries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds can help combat oxidative stress that leads to several multiple chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, and so on.

In addition, cherries are high in carotenoid pigments such as beta-carotene and Vitamin C, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well. 

According to the study, eating cherries reduce inflammation in 70 % of cases [9].

Side Effects

Using cherry juice in large amounts can lead to indigestion and diarrhea. Besides, cherries contain sorbitol, which may exacerbate symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome or fructose malabsorption.

Kidney Stones

Most kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate, so excessive amounts of oxalate in your urine are one of the main risk factors. Cranberries contain high levels of oxalates. Therefore,  they are considered a risk factor for kidney stones when consumed in high amounts [10]. 

Allergy

Allergy to fruits like cherries is often called “pollen-food syndrome”. The symptoms of this allergy commonly include itchy on the mouth and face upon eating raw or fresh fruit. 

Cranberries are rich in salicylic acid, a chemical that is also found in aspirin. Therefore people who are allergic or sensitive to aspirin may also have an allergy to cranberries. The symptoms often include a runny or stuffy nose, headaches, itching or skin rashes, and stomach pain [11] [12].

Summary

In summary, cherry is richer in minerals, contains 19 times more Vitamin A, 7 times more Folate, and also has a lower GI than cranberry. Cranberries have 17 times more Vitamin A, 2 times more Vitamin K, and contain low sugar and sodium than cherry.

References

  1. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/suppl/2008/09/18/dc08-1239.DC1/TableA1_1.pdf
  2. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/3/368
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266343/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16923231/
  5. https://pubs.rsc.org/fi/content/articlelanding/2017/fo/c7fo00900c/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22280223/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12706854/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5039576/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6259571/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7245443/
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S009167490200057X
  12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674999701673
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Profession: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: May 21, 2021

Infographic

Cherry vs Cranberry infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Cherry
7
:
Contains more Iron +39.1%
Contains more Calcium +100%
Contains more Potassium +116.3%
Contains more Magnesium +50%
Contains more Copper +85.7%
Contains more Zinc +11.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +36.4%
Contains less Sodium -33.3%
Equal in Zinc - 0.09
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 12% 5% 16% 7% 35% 3% 7% 1%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 9% 3% 8% 5% 19% 3% 5% 1%
Contains more Iron +39.1%
Contains more Calcium +100%
Contains more Potassium +116.3%
Contains more Magnesium +50%
Contains more Copper +85.7%
Contains more Zinc +11.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +36.4%
Contains less Sodium -33.3%
Equal in Zinc - 0.09

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Cherry
5
:
Contains more Vitamin A +1936.5%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +150%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +100%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +296%
Contains more Folate +700%
Contains more Vitamin C +40%
Contains more Vitamin E +1785.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +106.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +29.5%
Contains more Vitamin K +138.1%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 34% 77% 2% 0% 8% 10% 8% 9% 11% 0% 6% 6%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 47% 4% 27% 0% 3% 5% 2% 18% 14% 0% 13% 1%
Contains more Vitamin A +1936.5%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +150%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +100%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +296%
Contains more Folate +700%
Contains more Vitamin C +40%
Contains more Vitamin E +1785.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +106.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +29.5%
Contains more Vitamin K +138.1%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
14
Cherry
11
Cranberry
Mineral Summary Score
10
Cherry
6
Cranberry

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
6%
Cherry
3%
Cranberry
Carbohydrates
12%
Cherry
12%
Cranberry
Fats
1%
Cherry
1%
Cranberry

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Cherry Cranberry
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Cherry Cranberry
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Cranberry
Cranberry is lower in Sugar (difference - 4.22g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Cranberry
Cranberry contains less Sodium (difference - 1mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Cranberry
Cranberry is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.06g)
Which food is cheaper?
Cranberry
Cranberry is cheaper (difference - $0.6)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Cherry
Cherry is lower in glycemic index (difference - 23)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Cherry
Cherry is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cherry Cranberry Opinion
Calories 50 46 Cherry
Protein 1 0.46 Cherry
Fats 0.3 0.13 Cherry
Vitamin C 10 14 Cranberry
Carbs 12.18 11.97 Cherry
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.32 0.23 Cherry
Calcium 16 8 Cherry
Potassium 173 80 Cherry
Magnesium 9 6 Cherry
Sugar 8.49 4.27 Cranberry
Fiber 1.6 3.6 Cranberry
Copper 0.104 0.056 Cherry
Zinc 0.1 0.09 Cherry
Starch 0 Cranberry
Phosphorus 15 11 Cherry
Sodium 3 2 Cranberry
Vitamin A 1283 63 Cherry
Vitamin E 0.07 1.32 Cranberry
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.03 0.012 Cherry
Vitamin B2 0.04 0.02 Cherry
Vitamin B3 0.4 0.101 Cherry
Vitamin B5 0.143 0.295 Cranberry
Vitamin B6 0.044 0.057 Cranberry
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 2.1 5 Cranberry
Folate 8 1 Cherry
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 0.068 0.008 Cranberry
Monounsaturated Fat 0.082 0.018 Cherry
Polyunsaturated fat 0.09 0.055 Cherry
Tryptophan 0.003 Cranberry
Threonine 0.028 Cranberry
Isoleucine 0.033 Cranberry
Leucine 0.053 Cranberry
Lysine 0.039 Cranberry
Methionine 0.003 Cranberry
Phenylalanine 0.036 Cranberry
Valine 0.045 Cranberry
Histidine 0.018 Cranberry
Fructose 3.51 0.67 Cherry

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Cherry - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173954/nutrients
  2. Cranberry - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171722/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.