Benefits of Cranberries – Facts for a Healthier Holiday!
Provided by Linzi Cruz, Dietetic Intern, Baptist Health System
Cranberry season peaks during the holidays- with lots of recipes for cranberry spreads, pies and sauce. So why not get to know this food and its potential health benefits a little better?
The role of ‘the cranberry’ has been well established with its benefits in preventing against UTIs or urinary tract infections (bladder health). The main component in cranberries that prevents a UTI from happening is the phytochemical called proanthocyanidin. Phytochemicals are compounds, found only in plants, which are believed to provide disease-fighting properties in the human body.
Due to the large number of these ‘phytochemicals’ in cranberries, the possible health benefits don’t stop there! Cranberries can also play a role in improving your immune system and decreasing blood pressure, which is important, especially as we age. At 55 calories per ½ cup, these tart, red berries provide 25% Vitamin C, (a powerful antioxidant) and 5 grams of fiber, which is wonderful for colon health. However, cranberries are very sour to eat raw! In order to balance the tartness, recipes have evolved to make this super food more edible, including the common ways we use them today: in the form of juice, fresh baked in muffins/pies, or dried in oatmeal/trail mix.
Whether you’re familiar with this special berry or interested in trying it for the first time, including cranberries in your diet this holiday will surely make a great addition to your health journey! There is a variety of cranberry juice available on the market, but not all offer the same health benefits. Here is a reference list that may help you when choosing cranberry juice. These brands include products containing the Vitamins and phytochemicals from the cranberry without added sugars or diluted juice!
Look for these Brands!
- POM Pure Cranberry Juice
- Lakewood Pure Cranberry Juice
Brands with Added Sugar and Diluted Juice:
- Diet Cranberry Juice
- Ocean Spray and Tropicana Juices
Follow the recipe below to make a cranberry juice cocktail, a healthy holiday meal, and have a look at the best juice brands to choose that have the beneficial vitamins and phytochemicals. We hope you can find a way to include this berry in your diet this season.
Juice Cocktail Recipe:
Prep Time: 5 minutes
- ¼ Cup Pure Cranberry Juice
- 1 ½ Cup Water
- 1 TBS Honey or sugar substitute
- 1 wedge lemon
Methods: Add water in a 20-ounce cup, and place in the microwave until water is lukewarm. Once heated, mix the honey or sugar substitute to the lukewarm water until fully blended. Add in ¼ cup pure cranberry juice to the honey/water mixture.
Cut lemons into wedges or slices and place one lemon wedge/slice into the cocktail for garnish. Sip and enjoy!
- Jepson R. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews [serial online]. June 16, 2014;(6)Available from: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 19, 2015.