As a Certified Health Coach specializing in nutrition, many people ask me about healthy fruits. I routinely add both of these into smoothies for their taste and nutritional benefits, so I’m personally familiar with them. If you had to choose just one, which is better, cherries or strawberries?
Strawberries are better than cherries because they contain less calories, carbohydrates and less than half the sugar. Strawberries contain more calcium, iron, folate, phosphorus, niacin, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin K and almost ten times the number of vitamin C than cherries.
Don’t count cherries totally out because they have many nutrients also. Both fruits have a lot in common. This article will discuss all the similarities and differences in complete detail, including storage.
Cherries and Where Do They Grow
Cherries are small, red, heart-shaped fruits that come from Prunus trees. There are 150 different species, but we mainly eat two kinds: sweet and sour 1.
Sweet cherries are what we typically think of when speaking of cherries. These are fleshy, bright red and sweet to eat right out of your hand. These are also good for cooking.
Sour ones tend to be smaller, darker in color and rounder. Typically, people only cook with these.
Though people eat cherries worldwide, they originated in ancient Greece, Rome and China. They came over to the Americas in the 1600s. Today, Turkey is the biggest producer, followed by the United States 2.
Strawberries and Where Do They Grow
Strawberries are small, red, sweet, cone-shaped fruits that come from a low-growing plant. Despite the name, experts consider these to be accessory fruits and not berries.
They originated in Europe and we produced the first American variety in the 1800s. There are 103 different species, but the one we eat today is a hybrid of the American and the Chilean species.
Similarities and Differences
Many people have asked the question, is strawberry a cherry?
A strawberry is not a cherry. Although both fruits, cherries are grown on Prunus tress and strawberries grow on low hanging strawberry plants. Strawberries are a soft red fruit with a seed-studded surface while cherries are a firm fruit with a smooth skin.
Maybe some of the confusion about whether a strawberry is a cherry is a new variety of fruit called strawberry cherries.
Strawberry cherries are a new variety of fruit grown from a unique tree. They are larger than a cherry, firm and juicy with a sweet taste. They don’t taste like a strawberry or a cherry.
How are they similar?
Cherries and strawberries are both easy to eat, healthy and easy to store. They are both high in vitamins and nutrients and can be eaten fresh or cooked in various recipes. Both fruits store in the refrigerator for quick eating or can be frozen for future use.
Taste and Texture
Let’s compare the tastes of both.
Strawberries taste fruity with a sweet to mildly acid taste depending on its level of ripeness when picked. Cherries have a sweet to slightly tart taste depending on the variety and level of ripeness. Cherries are firmer than strawberries.
Although there is different varieties of strawberries, they all have a similar look, taste and use. On the other hand, there are sweet or sour cherries used for different purposes.
Sweet cherries and strawberries are both used in similar ways. They can be eaten whole, added to smoothies or used for deserts. Both can be cooked and used in pies.
I wanted to get the opinion of real people like you by conducting some original research. Therefore, I reached out to some members of food groups, my clients and readers. I asked, what tastes better, strawberries or cherries?
- 66% said they preferred the taste of strawberries.
- 32% said they preferred the taste of cherries.
- 12% said they had no preference, or it depended on the type of cherry.
I also participated in my own blind taste test. I had blended each fruit separately into two different smoothies. I picked the drink containing the strawberries.
In the battle of taste, strawberries taste better and was the winner in the poll and in my own taste test.
|Strawberries (100 grams)
|Cherries (100 grams)
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
|5,938 (1 cup)
|4,873 (1 cup)
As mentioned earlier, the largest differences are how many less carbohydrates, calories and sugar strawberries have compared to cherries. Also, in the strawberries favor, they have a large number more of vitamin C, folate and niacin.
The largest difference in the cherries favor is more potassium and vitamin A. The remaining nutrients are a toss up between the two fruits.
Both fruits contain a wide variety of nutrients beneficial for a healthy nutrition plan.
Let’s find out how much more in percentages.
- Strawberries contain 21.8% more antioxidants than cherries per one cup.
Berries are very high in antioxidants compared to other fruits and foods. Wild blueberries have the highest and cultivated blueberries have the 2nd most.
Below is a list showing the total number of antioxidants per cup in the different berries and fruit.
- Wild blueberries – 13,427
- Cultivated blueberries – 9,019
- Cranberries – 8,983
- Blackberries – 7,701
- Raspberries – 6,058
- Strawberries – 5,938
- Black plums – 4,873
- Sweet cherries – 4,873
- Red grapes – 2,016
Which to Choose?
Many people have particular goals and deciding which food they consume plays a huge role. Which fruit you choose may depend on your particular goal.
Therefore, in this section I examine the most common goals and determine which of the two is the better choice.
The number of calories in each meal or snack can add up pretty quickly. If you’re looking to lose some extra pounds from the belly, the number of calories will matter to you.
Therefore, let’s examine which is better for weight loss.
- Strawberries are better for weight loss because they contain 102% fewer calories per one cup than cherries.
Protein and carbs both play a role in bodybuilding. Protein helps to build and repair muscle after a good workout. Healthy carbohydrates help to fuel energy and increase performance when weight training or exercising.
If gaining lean muscle mass is your goal, then the amount of protein and carbohydrates will probably matter to you. Therefore, let’s take a look at which is better for bodybuilding.
- Cherries are better for bodybuilding because they contain 52% more protein and 100% more carbohydrates per one cup serving than strawberries. Cherries also contain more calories which may help when in a bulking phase to grow muscle.
On the days I lift weights at the gym, I often added cherries to my protein shakes which I mostly have after my workouts.
Low Carb or Keto Diets
The goal of any Keto type diet is to take in the least amount of carbohydrates as possible. The numbers can be so limited every carbohydrate can make a difference by the end of the day.
Therefore, let’s examine which one has fewer carbohydrates.
- Strawberries are better for low-carb diets because they contain 100% fewer carbohydrates per one cup than cherries. Strawberries contain 11.1 grams of carbohydrates per one cup serving. Cherries contain 22.1 grams of carbohydrates per one cup.
If the amount of sugar in your meals is important, you’ll want to know which one has more sugar.
- Cherries have 151% more grams of sugar per one cup serving than strawberries. Cherries contain 17.70 grams of sugar per one cup serving. Strawberries contain 7.04 grams of sugar per one cup serving.
For people who have celiac disease or wish to follow a gluten free diet the goal is clear cut, avoid gluten. Therefore, let’s answer which one is gluten free.
- Strawberries and cherries are both gluten free and good for gluten free diets.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 5. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes.
Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:
- Low-GI foods: 55 or under
- Medium-GI foods: 56-69
- High-GI foods: 70 or over
How blood sugars levels are affected:
- Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.
Let’s examine the GI scores of both.
The following are the glycemic scores found in The University Of Sydney GI database:
- Strawberry, raw: 40
- Cherries, dark, raw, pitted: 63
- Cherries, raw: 29
- Cherries, raw, sour: 22
Glycemic Index source 6
Which One Contains The Most Pesticides?
Strawberries contain more pesticides than cherries. They are the number one fruit or vegetable on the Environmental Working Group 2022 Dirty Dozen List. Cherries are listed number eight. The list contains the top fruit and vegetables containing the highest traces of pesticides.
The following is the top 20 of the 2022 Dirty Dozen Foods List:
- Kale, collards and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Winter aquash
- Green beans
Strawberries have made number one on the list for the sixth year straight. Ninety percent of the fruit and vegetables tested positive for two or more pesticides 7 8. This is one of the main reasons why I always try to purchase organic when shopping.
Which Cost More?
The cost of food keeps rising and almost every trip to the supermarket seems to cost more and more money. Therefore, I’m sure the price of food matters to most people.
Let’s take a close look at which one is better for the price.
Cherries cost 95% more than strawberries per ounce. Cherries average cost per ounce is $0.37 and the average price for strawberries per ounce is $0.19.
To conduct my own research, I checked two different supermarkets located in my area. Both supermarkets are on different levels of pricing. Walmart is the most economical and Shoprite being more expensive but not high end.
Here are my findings, I first visited Walmart:
- Organic cherries (frozen) – 10 oz $4.16 ($0.42 per ounce)
- Organic strawberries (frozen) – 16 oz $2.24 ($0.14 per ounce)
- Cherries (frozen) – 12 oz $3.99 ($0.33 per ounce)
- Strawberries (frozen) – 12 oz $2.99 ($0.25 per ounce)
If cost is not a factor in your decision making, you may want to alternate both fruits for some nutrient variety and different taste.
Both fruits are harvested in a similar fashion. Do cherries continue to ripen when picked? Cherries are a non-climacteric fruit that does not ripen once picked. Therefore, they should be picked when fully matured at maximum size and flavor.
When cherries are fully ripe they should easily come off when picked. Gently grasp them and tug easily, they will detach with the stem still attached. Carefully place them into containers. Don’t overfill the containers or pack them down to make more room.
Keep the picked cherries out of the sunlight and as cool as possible while transporting them home 9.
How about strawberries, do they ripen after being picked? Strawberries are non-climacteric and don’t ripen after being picked. They should be fully ripened when picked and fully red with no green or white color.
Strawberries should be picked in the morning. Pick them at the stem with about 1/4 of the stem still attached. They should be gently placed into a container. Don’t overfill the container or pack them down.
Like cherries, keep the picked strawberries out of sunlight and in a cool place while bringing them home.
Unlike some other fruits, you should not wash cherries until you are ready to cook or eat them. Washing them prematurely can lead to early spoiling. Since they have a short shelf life of only a few days, you’ll want to keep them fresh for as long as possible.
They are more perishable than other fruits and should be kept cool and refrigerated as soon as possible. If you won’t be eating them within a few days, it is best to freeze them.
Like cherries, you should not wash strawberries until you are ready to eat them. They are less perishable and will last five to seven days when stored correctly in the refrigerator.
It is a great idea to freeze them if you won’t be eating them within a week. When freezing, remember to remove the stems and slice up the fruit. Just like cherries, you can also can or preserve them for future use.
Since I use strawberries all the time, I freeze them so I could purchase more at one time.
Strawberry Health Benefits
The magnesium, potassium, folate and vitamin c in strawberries are all beneficial for lowering blood pressure. Magnesium helps the blood vessels to relax and prevent them from constricting. Potassium helps the kidneys flush sodium and avoid excess fluid 10.
Vitamin C helps reduce blood vessel damage and increases the availability of nitric oxide. Researchers at John Hopkins University states consuming 500mg of vitamin C daily can help reduce blood pressure 11.
Lower blood pressure is beneficial for heart health. The antioxidants have been associated with heart health in numerous scientific studies 12.
Other studies have linked berry consumption and a lower risk of heart related deaths 13.
The antioxidants are linked to reducing inflammation and oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Various studies have shown how berries may help prevent different types of cancer by fighting inflammation and oxidative stress 14.
Other studies have shown how strawberries inhibited the growth of cancer cells in the liver 15.
Strawberries may also:
- Reduce inflammation.
- Lower cholesterol.
- Improve the function of blood vessels.
Find out if strawberries or blueberries are healthier in my article, Strawberries vs Blueberries: Which is Better? A Comparison.
Cherry Health Benefits
Cherries contain antioxidants and polyphenols that may have anti-inflammatory compounds. A review of previous studies found consuming them reduced markers of inflammation 16.
The antioxidants and nutrients are known to promote heart health. One of them, potassium, helps keep blood pressure lower and promote healthy blood vessels.
Consuming higher levels of potassium are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke 17.
Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid which leads to swelling and inflammation of the joints. Consuming cherries has been shown in studies to reduce uric acid levels.
In one study women who ate two servings reduced uric acid levels five hours later 18.
Another study found gout attacks decreased 35% after people with gout ate cherries for two days. When the people in the study combined them with gout medication, their attacks decreased 75% 19.
Cherries may also:
- Improve sleep quality.
- Improve exercise recovery.
Find out if raspberries or strawberries are better in my article, Raspberry vs Strawberry: Which is Better? A Comparison.
If you have any questions about this article don’t hesitate to email us. You can find an email on our contact page.
Read Next – More Food vs Food Articles!
- New World Encyclopedia: Cherry
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac: Growing Cherries
- USDA: Strawberries, raw
- USDA: Cherries, sweet, raw
- Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods
- University of Sydney: GI Search
- EWG: Dirty Dozen
- EWG: EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
- Iowa State University: Harvesting and Storing Small Fruits
- Blood Pressure Explained: 30 Supplements To Lower Your Blood Pressure Proven To Work
- John Hopkins Medicine: Big Doses of Vitamin C May Lower Blood Pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Low intake of fruits, berries and vegetables is associated with excess mortality in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Berry fruits for cancer prevention: current status and future prospects
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Antioxidant and anti proliferative activities of strawberries
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Cherry Antioxidants: From Farm to Table
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Potassium intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease a meta-analysis of prospective studies
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Consumption of cherries lowers plasma rate in health women
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Cherry Consumption and the Risk of Recurrent Gout Attacks