The Most Nutritious Summer Fruit You Can Eat

Summer brings sunny days, beach trips and the arrival of delicious, in-season fruits at their peak of freshness. But not all fruits are created equal when it comes to nutrition. Some pack more vitamins, minerals, and health-boosting compounds than others. So which summer fruit reigns supreme in terms of nourishment? Read on to find the most nutritious summer fruit you can eat.

Why Summer Fruit Stands Out

A basket of mixed fruit, including grapes, apples, and pears.

Fruit nourishes the body all year round, but summer produce has some unique advantages

  • Higher water content – Refreshing and hydrating
  • Higher antioxidant levels – More vibrant color indicates more antioxidants which reduce disease risk by fighting free radical damage and inflammation
  • More variance – Enjoy a diverse array of fruit options each with unique benefits
  • Great taste – Fruits in season simply taste better at their peak ripeness

Plus the convenience of summer fruits adds to their popularity – they require minimal prep and make for easy, grab-and-go snacks.

Contenders for Most Nutritious Summer Fruit

Several summer fruits shine for their positive impact on health. Top contenders include:


  • Packed with vitamin C, manganese, folate, potassium
  • High in antioxidants like anthocyanins which may protect heart health
  • 4 grams fiber per cup


  • High water content keeps you hydrated (92% water!)
  • Significant amounts of vitamins A, C and antioxidants lycopene and citrulline
  • May lower blood pressure and enhance exercise recovery time


  • Loaded with key antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and phytonutrients
  • Rank very high in antioxidant capacity compared to other fruits
  • Compounds unique to blueberries shown to benefit cognition, blood pressure, diabetes management and more

So which of these nutrition all-star summer fruits is the #1 superfood?

The Winner: Tart Cherries

While other summer fruits have nutritional merits, tart cherries stand out as a superfood due their exceptional antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities. Beyond their fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and melatonin content, research shows tart cherries confer specific benefits:

Joint Health and Injury Recovery

The anthocyanins and other compounds in tart cherries demonstrate potent anti-inflammatory activity. Studies find tart cherry juice can:

  • Reduce muscle soreness after strenuous exercise
  • Improve strength recovery in athletes after workout sessions 
  • Lower risk of gout attacks
  • Decrease pain and inflammation symptoms in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

The natural anti-inflammatory activity in tart cherries can alleviate joint pain and stiffness to improve mobility. The upshot? Faster recovery from athletic activities and less painful inflammation.  

Heart Health 

From improving blood pressure to managing cholesterol and diabetes, tart cherries impact numerous heart disease risk factors. Specifically, the antioxidants in tart cherries are shown to:

  • Lower systolic blood pressure
  • Reduce blood concentration of LDL and total cholesterol
  • Decrease hemoglobin A1C levels in those with diabetes
  • Inhibit oxidative stress that damages heart cells

By regulating these threat indicators for cardiovascular disease, tart cherries keep your heart healthy and happy.

Sleep Regulation

In today’s 24/7 world, quality sleep is elusive for many. Tart cherries uniquely provide melatonin, which helps: 

  • Reduce insomnia 
  • Improve sleep efficiency
  • Regulate circadian rhythms
  • Enhance overall sleep quality

Tart cherries’ natural melatonin content offers a nutritional solution to achieve restful and consistent sleep patterns for vibrant health.

In essence, tart cherries punch above their weight, delivering a powerful nutritional profile that provides multifaceted health benefits proven by science. Their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities explain why tart cherries can aid several aspects of health from athletic recovery to heart function and sleep.

Tips for Reaping Benefits of Tart Cherries

Follow these simple tips to make the most of tart cherries:

  • Enjoy fresh or frozen, with no added sugar
  • Mix into smoothies, oatmeal or salads
  • Drink as a refreshing juice or fermented beverage like kombucha
  • Opt for dried, frozen or juice concentrates when fresh cherries are not in season
  • Pair with spices like cinnamon and ginger to amplify benefits


All fruits, including summer produce, offer nutrition benefits. But pound for pound, tart cherries stand out as the most nutritious summer fruit you can eat. Their exceptional antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities make them a true superfood. So be sure to enjoy these bright red beauties fresh while they are in season. And stock up on frozen or dried versions so you can reap their nutrition all year long!


What are the possible side effects of eating too many tart cherries?

There are no documented serious side effects. However, overconsumption may cause minor digestive upset or diarrhea in some individuals. As with any fruit, enjoy tart cherries in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.

How long is peak season for fresh tart cherries?

In most regions, you can enjoy fresh tart cherries starting in early summer through August. So a window of June through August is generally peak availability.

Are sweet cherries as healthy as tart?

While sweet cherries offer benefits, tart cherries contain higher concentrations of key nutrients and compounds. So for maximum nutrition, tart cherries are the best choice.

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