The cherries that we pick from our tree are always red and juicy; some are blighted and contain worms, but we eat and juice them just the same.These cherries (Malpighia emarginata) are also known as West Indian cherries, acerola, and Barbados cherries.
The West Indian cherry tree is a host plant for certain caterpillars, and the larvae of the acerola weevil feed on the fruits.Many times we eat cherries containing larvae without realizing it, but we have a saying in Jamaica that goes: “What nuh kill, fatten; and what no fatten, figotten” . . . meaning: What doesn’t kill you will fatten you, and what doesn’t fatten you will be forgotten (passed out in the feces). So we really don’t worry much about eating wormy cherries.
West Indian cherries are extremely rich in vitamin C, having 32 times the amount of vitamin C found in orange juice. I also read that they contain vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3, as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids. These cherries also have high antioxidant potency.
This high level of antioxidants is known to help relieve pain, inflammation and stiffness. The consumption of cherries has potential health benefits against chronic painful conditions such as gout, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and sports injuries.
Research also suggests that the antioxidant compounds found in cherries also assist the human body to fight against cancers, aging, neurological diseases, and pre-diabetes condition.
Cherries are low in calories and are an excellent source of potassium; they contain the same amount of potassium found in a banana. Eating cherries helps keep potassium and sodium levels in balance, and can prevent hypertension from occurring.