The Rainier cherry (Prunus avium) is a unique cross between two dark red varieties of sweet cherry; namely, the Bing variety and the Van variety. Being a large yellow cherry with a bright red blush, it has a distinctive and superior appearance among sweet cherry varieties. Rainier cherries that are grown in the Pacific Northwest are available in summer from June through August. Those grown in Chile are available in winter.
The Gloriously Sweet Rainier Cherry
Among the sweetest of fruits, the Rainier cherry is known for its high sugar content. Depending on how it is grown, its sugar content ranges from 17 degrees Brix to 22 degrees Brix. Brix is a unit representative of the sugar content of an aqueous solution. One degree Brix corresponds to 1g of sucrose in 100g of solution. One cup of Rainier cherries, equivalent to 145g or 21 to 22 cherries, contains 23.21g of total carbohydrates with 18.5g of sugars and 3g dietary fiber. Although a large portion of the calories in the Rainier cherry comes from sugars, it does not mean that those prone to diabetes have to keep away from this glorious fruit. Research studies have shown the glucose-lowering effects of cherry phytochemicals.
Further, a glycemic index of 22, which is much lower than that of other fruits – apricots (57), grapes (46), peaches (42) and blueberries (40) – and a high dietary fiber content that forms 12 percent of the Daily Values (DV), Rainier cherries are a potentially better fruit-based snack food for people with diabetes.
Nutritional Punch of Rainier Cherry
Let’s take a look at the Ranier cherry nutrition information other than the carbs. One cup of Rainier cherries provides 91 calories with only three calories coming from fats. This is because the total fat content in a cup of these cherries is just 0.29 g, and it is contributing nothing toward the daily permissible limit of 65g of total fat consumption. Further, Rainier cherries have no dietary cholesterol.
A cup of cherries contains only 1g of protein; but who looks for protein in a fruit! There are plenty of other foods that serve that purpose.
With 322mg per cup, it is a very good source of potassium. Research shows that a diet rich in potassium reduces the risk for hypertension and stroke. Moreover, it has absolutely no sodium, and most individuals know that sodium tends to increase blood pressure.
Other Ranier Cherry Nutrition Information
The Rainier cherry is a good source of vitamin A (88.3 IU); it contributes almost two percent of the daily recommended value per cup. It is also rich in vitamin C (9.7 mg per cup) and provides 16 percent DV.
Rainier cherries contain bioactive anthocyanins that have been found to possess anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-obese properties. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry reported that the beta-carotene and other bioactive acids present in the methanol and ethyl acetate extract of Rainier cherries could inhibit lipid peroxidation by 78 to 79 percent respectively. This means that Rainier cherries are a rich source of anti-oxidants that help repair damaged cells in the body and provide protection from cardiovascular disease.
The Rainier cherry is high in iron content (0.5 mg and 3 percent DV). It is an excellent laxative and blood purifier aid. The alkaline nature of this cherry helps eliminate harmful toxins from the body.
A Rainier cherry is also rich in quercetin, which is a potent anti-cancer flavonoid, and melatonin, which is a hormone that has anti-oxidant properties and promotes healthy sleeping patterns.
So, go ahead and enjoy the Rainier cherry. Snack on it or add it to sweet or spicy summer dishes. Cook it, grill it, or serve plain for healthy eating.