Cherries are jam-packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, flavonoids that slow aging, fibre to prevent constipation and melatonin to regulate the body’s sleep patterns.
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But, of course, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and sometimes eating too many cherries can result in a variety of unpleasant side effects.
The chance of suffering any type of negative side effect from eating cherries is rare if you aren’t allergic, but overconsumption does raise a few red flags.
Everyone’s stomach reacts differently to eating too many cherries. Some people may experience diarrhea, while others may suffer from constipation. Other possible side effects include nausea and vomiting.
- Diarrhea. A single cup of cherries contains 3 grams of fiber, fulfilling one-eighth of our daily fiber requirements. Doctors often recommend cherries as a delicious cure to constipation, but if you eat too many, you can end up feeling rather under the weather.
- Constipation. Health website MayoClinic.com reports that despite the high fibre content, eating too many cherries can also, surprisingly, result in constipation in certain people. They strongly advise that you not eat more than one cup of cherries in a single day.
- Nausea and Vomiting. Cherries are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that helps to stave off heart disease and cancer. In some people, an excess of quercetin can trigger nausea and vomiting in sensitive stomachs.
- Stomach Bloating, Gas or Flatulence. Cherries are rich in cellulose, a carbohydrate that helps to regulate bowel movements. The bacteria present in our intestine feed on this carbohydrate and produce gas as a waste product. Eating too many cherries can trigger excess production of this gas which then leads to intestinal bloating, flatulence and discomfort.
Possible Weight Gain
It’s easy to pop dozens of cherries in your mouth with wild abandon, but while these little fruits are rich in nutrients, they are also chock full of sugar. A single cup of pitted cherries comes close to 100 calories, which means that eating too many cherries can derail your weight loss efforts efforts if you’re not careful. Robert Shmerling, M.D., of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, calculates that eating two cups of cherries a day can result in a gain of up to one and a half pound per month, provided that you do not make any other changes in your diet or exercise pattern.
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Although rare, eating too many cherries can trigger allergic reactions in some people. These allergic reactions usually begin less than two hours after eating or handling cherries and typically affect the digestive tract, skin and nasal passages.
Medical practitioners at The National Institute of Health explain that there is no fixed quantity of cherries that will trigger these reactions. For some people, one or two cherries may be enough. Others may be able to consume two or more cups before symptoms develop. There is also no fixed time frame: Some people may go up to two hours before the onset of symptoms, while others can demonstrate symptoms immediately after eating too many cherries.
Histamines produced during an allergic reaction can result in an itching or tingling sensation in the mouth and throat, which may ultimately spread to the eyes and the skin. Some people who eat too many cherries may also experience bumps and an acute swelling in their throat, which may make swallowing difficult.
The UM Medical Center explains that eating too many cherries can cause swelling in the mouth, throat and sinuses, which in turn leads to difficulty in breathing. This is often accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose, and so it is very easy to mistake this condition for a cold or flu. However, ignoring the symptoms can be a costly mistake. The lack of oxygen caused by difficulty in breathing can result in sharp drops in heart rates and blood pressure, which can prove fatal.
The Pesticide Problem
Even a small amount of cherries can be loaded with toxic pesticides, say experts at the Pesticide Action Network. In fact, an article in Science and Nature magazine categorizes cherries among the “top 10 most poisonous foods we eat.” Both sources agree that cherries are quick to absorb toxic pesticides, which then affect our reproductive organs and result in developmental disorders if you eat too many cherries. To stay safe, they suggest that you stick to organic cherries and always wash cherries thoroughly before eating them.
As with everything in life, moderation is the key.