Although cranberries are more commonly associated with the holidays, there are plenty of good reasons why it needs to be consumed all-year-round, either frozen, dried, in juice, or supplement form. Today, we will be listing down ten health benefits you can get by incorporating these superfoods into your diet.
The Health Benefits of the Cranberry

  Fri, May 14, 2021 4:56 AM

When it comes to Thanksgiving feasts, one of the best accompaniments of the star of the dinner table is cranberry sauce. It feels incomplete if your turkey is not eaten with cranberry sauce, right? But while you are being enchanted by the tartness with the balanced sweetness of cranberries, have you ever wondered what benefits it can provide to your body?

Although cranberries are more commonly associated with the holidays, there are plenty of good reasons why it needs to be consumed all-year-round, either frozen, dried, in juice, or supplement form. Today, we will be listing down ten health benefits you can get by incorporating these superfoods into your diet. But before that, let’s take a deep dive and wonder what this ruby fruit is.

What Are Cranberries?

Cranberries are a part of a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines which also include blueberries, bilberries, and lingonberries. There are two kinds of cranberry and are grouped on where they are grown: Vaccinium oxycoccos is grown in central and northern Europe, while Vaccinium macrocarpon is cultivated in the northern United States, Canada, and Chile. In 2017, the latter kind accounted for 98% of the world’s production of cranberries.

Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam, sweetened dried cranberries, while the remaining are sold fresh to consumers. They are rarely eaten raw due to their very sharp bitter and sour taste that can be unappetizing for some people.

Nutritional Values

Fresh, raw cranberries are composed of 90% water, while the remainder is carbs and fiber. Remember that raw cranberries contain less sugar than dried cranberries. Here are the main components of a serving of cranberry.

A whole cup of raw cranberries contains:

  • 46 calories
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 12 grams of carbohydrates
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 4 grams of sugar
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 2 milligrams of sodium

A quarter-cup of dried cranberries contains:

  • 92 calories
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 25 grams of carbohydrates
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 22 grams of sugar
  • 0 grams of protein
  • 2 milligrams of sodium

Cranberries’ carbohydrate component is mainly simple sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose that are responsible for providing daily energy. On the other hand, the fiber is composed of insoluble fiber (pectin, cellulose, and hemicellulose) and soluble fiber. These fibers are excellent in cleansing the digestive tract but may cause digestive symptoms if consumed excessively.

Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Cranberries are considered a superfood because it contains a lot of essential vitamins and minerals without being too calorific. For vitamins and nutrients, one cup of raw cranberries has:

  • Vitamin C, 25% of your daily requirement. Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is vital for the growth, development, and repair of the body tissues. It is an all-around vitamin because it is involved in many body functions, such as the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, and the maintenance of bones and teeth.
  • Vitamin A, 9% of your daily requirement. Also known as retinol, Vitamin A plays a huge part in the development of better eyesight because it produces pigments in the retina of the eye.
  • Vitamin K, 6% of your daily requirement. Vitamin K is essential in making various proteins that are needed for blood clotting and the building of the bones.
  • Potassium, 2% of your daily requirement. Food rich in potassium is beneficial to help the nerves to function and the muscles contract. It also promotes a more efficient movement of nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells
  • Iron, 1% of your daily requirement. Iron helps in the formation and oxygenation of the blood cells and hemoglobin. Iron is responsible for heme synthesis, a process that forms hemoglobin that can be found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to body tissues that will consequently maintain basic life functions.
  • Calcium, 1% of your daily requirement. It maintains strong bones and carries out other important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, giving it its structure and hardness. Calcium is also responsible for muscle movement and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part.
  • Vitamin E, 8% of your daily requirement. Vitamin E is a nature-occurring antioxidant that helps in protecting cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that are formed when bodies convert the food we consume into energy.
  • Manganese, 16% of your daily requirement. Manganese helps in the formation of connective tissues, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones. It is also responsible for optimized fat and carbohydrate metabolism, better calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation.
  • Copper, 7% of your daily requirement. Copper helps in the red blood cell formation in the body. It is also responsible for maintaining healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function.

Rich in Antioxidants

You may have heard of the term “antioxidants” especially on brewed tea and coffee commercials, but do you know what it does to our body?

Antioxidants could either be natural-occurring or manmade These substances protect your cells against free radicals, unwanted molecules that are produced when your body breaks down food or when you're exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation which may cause heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

Cranberries have multiple kinds of antioxidants that make them one of the most beneficial superfoods. These are:

  • Phenols. Compounds that are essential in our body’s defense responses, such as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative activities
  • Quercetin. Apart from its anti-aging properties, quercetin also helps in reducing inflammation, killing cancer cells, controlling blood sugar, and helping prevent heart disease.
  • Myricetin. An antioxidant that has iron-balancing, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.
  • Peonidin. Anticancer properties
  • Ursolic acid. An antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and anticancer properties

Health Benefits of Cranberries

With the abundance of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it is undeniable that cranberries can provide a lot of health benefits to our bodies. Several studies have found that cranberries can help in the reduction of risks from serious health deficiencies and diseases such as the following.

  1. UTI Prevention

One of the most well-known uses of cranberries is their ability to prevent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infection). Since it contains high levels of proanthocyanidins, it helps to lower the adhesion of UTI-causing bacteria to the urinary tract walls. If these bacteria can’t find a surface to grow and spread, an infection is unable to develop.

A 2015 study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that cranberry fruit helps prevent UTI and compared to cranberry juice, it may decrease the effectiveness since the extraction of cranberries can eliminate the properties of proanthocyanidins. It is best to consume cranberries in solid or supplement form to get the optimal results.

  1. Improves Heart Health

The anti-inflammatory properties of the antioxidants in cranberries are beneficial to lessen the risks of coronary heart disease by preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure. Inflammation is responsible for the damages to blood vessels over time.

A 2018 study claimed this support by giving overweight men cranberries for eight weeks, and it resulted that they have improved defiance against heart disease.

  1. Strengthens the Immune System

Thanks to the presence of Vitamin C in cranberries, it helps in the support of the immune system. Vitamin C plays a huge role in the production of white blood cells, namely lymphocytes and phagocytes, that help protect the body against viral infection.

Apart from that, the presence of antioxidants also reduces the odds of getting sick.

  1. Smoothens the Skin

Cranberry’s high presence of polyphenols, Vitamins C and E effectively attacks free radicals to minimize the visible signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and loss of elasticity

  1. Perfect For Weight Loss

Cranberries contain high levels of protective compounds called polyphenols that support the body's natural defenses and help achieve a balanced lifestyle. It also helps to cleanse the liver, remove toxins, and reduce belly fat, creating a flatter stomach area by flushing and stimulating digestion.

Since cranberries are also made of multiple fibers, it also helps one stay full for longer.

Bear in mind that extracting cranberry and just consuming its juice can minimize the health benefits it can provide. The supplement form of cranberry extract will provide the best results because heating up cranberries may cause the evaporation of the compounds responsible for the health benefits.

If you are on the lookout for the guaranteed way in getting the health benefits of cranberries, then check out NaturesPlus Ultra Chewable Cranberry Love Berries 90 Vegetarian Tablets. They are gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan cranberry gummies that will be a delightful treat for kids and adults alike.

Conclusion

Aside from being delicious, cranberries are indeed one of the most beneficial superfoods available today. With the health benefits above, it is recommended to keep on consuming cranberries, even if it is not the holidays.

While thinking of recipes you can do with cranberries, keep in mind that too much consumption in a day can cause adverse effects such as an upset stomach, since cranberries also contain soluble fiber. If this occurs, consult with your doctor immediately.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that cranberries are not a substitute for treating a medical condition. Instead, it prevents the causes of these diseases. Always consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any health issues.