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Sweet and sour cherries: Origin, distribution, nutritional composition and health benefits

Blando, Federica, Oomah, B. Dave
Trends in food science & technology 2019 v.86 pp. 517-529
Prunus avium, Prunus cerasus, anthocyanins, antioxidants, blood glucose, cherries, cognition, color, coumaric acids, exercise, food processing, fruit crops, fruits, health effects assessments, inflammation, muscles, nutrient content, oxidative stress, polyphenols, processing technology, surveys, taste, texture, Iran, Russia, United States
The production and consumption of cherries has increased recently due to consumer awareness of their health benefits, since they are rich in polyphenolics (namely anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acids). Global sweet cherry production increased over the last 16 years from 1.9 to 2.32 million tons, with Turkey, USA, Iran, as the main producers. Sour cherry production has been static during the same period at around 1.1–1.3 million tons concentrated in Europe, with the Russian Federation as the predominant producer.This review presents a comprehensive survey of the current literature on sweet and sour cherries, from the origin and distribution of the fruit crop to their antioxidant and health properties. Moreover, possible further investigations are highlighted after summarizing the existing body of knowledge.Sweet cherries are mostly consumed fresh, and are also highly perishable, whereas sour cherries are most frequently processed. Sweet cherries are appreciated for their organoleptic aspects, such as taste, texture and color, whereas processed sour cherries are recognized for their higher bioactive content. Both sweet and sour cherries exert beneficial health effects to counteract oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, modulate blood glucose, and enhance cognitive function. Sour cherries supplementation in particular, has been reported to benefit in recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage.The health benefits derived from consuming cherries should increase this fruit tree crop cultivation and improve the agricultural practices and food processing technology to provide consistent and reliable supply of these fruits.