A Complete Guide To Cranberry Benefits, Nutrition & Risks

Known as a superfood, cranberry is a powerhouse of nutrients to gift you a healthy life. Native to North America, the most common species is Vaccinium macrocarpon which people eat generally. It tastes like a combination of sweet and sour with a tad of bitterness. Cranberries are available in three forms- fresh, dried, and frozen. Whereas it is good to have them raw, due to the sharp taste, people generally avoid it. But frozen and dried cranberries benefit health and diet as well. Fresh and frozen cranberries are generally combined with other fruit juices while dried cranberries have versatile usage in baked goods, salads, or dessert toppings.

dried cranberries benefits

Cranberry Nutrient Facts

Fresh and raw cranberries are loaded with carbs and fiber to contribute to your health regime. There is insoluble fiber including pectin, hemicelluloses, cellulose, and simple sugars including glucose, sucrose, and fructose present in the raw cranberries. It is also loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin B, and rich in antioxidants. Let’s have a look at the main nutrients present in 100 gm or 1 cup of fresh, raw, and unsweetened cranberries.

cranberry nutrition
  • Water: 87%
  • Calories: 46
  • Fiber: 4.6 grams
  • Carbs: 12.2 grams
  • Protein: 0.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Sugar: 4 grams

Cranberries also fulfill your daily requirement of vitamins and minerals largely. Have a look at the cranberry nutrition chart!

  • Vitamin C: 25% of your daily requirement
  • Vitamin A: 9% of your daily requirement
  • Vitamin E: 8% of your daily requirement
  • Vitamin K: 6% of your daily requirement
  • Vitamin B-complex: 8% of your daily requirement
  • Manganese: 16% of your daily requirement
  • Copper: 7% of your daily requirement
  • Potassium:  2% of your daily requirement
  • Calcium and Iron: 1% of your daily requirement
cranberry benefits

How does Cranberry Benefits your Health?

We have enlisted the major cranberry health benefits to give you better insight. Let’s have a look!

1. Prevents Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs

Urinary Tract infection is one of the most common bacterial infections caused by Escherichia coli or E. Coli bacterium and commonly seen among women. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has released a report that claims the effectiveness of cranberry in preventing UTIs. Cranberries are rich in proanthocyanidins that help in preventing the bacteria to attach themselves to the inner surface of your bladder and urinary tract. But, it is also said that cranberry juice is less effective in working against bacterial adhesion.

2. Improves Cardiovascular Health

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition says that consuming a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice regularly can increase the good cholesterol or HDL level in the human body. It also reduces the harmful LDL or bad cholesterol level and protects your heart from the oxidation of LDL. Cranberry nutrition components decrease the risk of inflammation in blood vessels by cutting down the blood levels of homocysteine. It also contains polyphenols which are extremely beneficial in preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure.

3. Reduces the Risk of Cancer

The A-type proanthocyanidins present in cranberries prevent the bacterium Helicobacter pylori from attaching to the stomach lining and cuts down the risk of having stomach cancer, inflammation as well as ulcer. It also works effectively against breast, ovarian, liver, prostate, and colon cancer.

4. Meets Your Antioxidant Needs

Like the other berries, cranberries are also a very good source of antioxidants, namely flavonol polyphenols. It contains antioxidants including Quercetin, Myricetin, Peonidin, Ursolic acid which are extremely beneficial as anti-inflammatory agents in the human body. These antioxidants help in lowering the C-reactive protein which triggers inflammation as well as premature aging, cognitive decline, and chronic illness.

5. Powerhouse of Vitamins and Minerals

Cranberries are full of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K1, and vitamin B complex which are needed to look after your overall health. While vitamin C provides antioxidants, fights the damages caused by free radicals, and improves the iron absorption power in the body, vitamin E improves joints and prevents Alzheimer’s and arthritis.

6. Works as an Immunity Booster

Cranberry health benefits also include its work as a strong immune booster. It is rich in vitamin C that promotes a better immune system and prevents UTIs, ulcers, gum disease, etc. It also reduces triglycerides and works as an insulin resistant. Cranberry nutrition is beneficial to prevent antibiotic resistance by bacteria.

7. Dried Cranberry Benefits for The Digestive System

Cranberries promote beneficial gut bacteria to improve the digestive system. It is also loaded with fiber to prevent the problems related to constipation and the dietary fiber also keeps you full for a long time. So, indirectly cranberry also works in favor of weight loss management.

8. Other Health Benefits

  • Cranberries prevent harmful bacteria from binding to the surface of the teeth and ensure better oral health by eliminating gum diseases.
  • Cranberries nourish the skin by promoting collagen production and works as an anti-aging agent. 
  • Cranberries improve artery flexibility which in return helps in better blood circulation. Better circulation contributes to better cognitive function and enhances the energy level. Cranberry health benefits as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent improve memory and brainpower as well.
cranberry health benefits

Risks

It is always advisable to never consume anything excessively for its health benefits.  Although cranberry health benefits are undoubtedly supported by doctors, extreme consumption can increase the excretion of oxalate in urine. This is the reason kidney stones form and it can lead to serious health complications. Besides, cranberries are loaded with fiber which may cause diarrhea if eaten excessively.

If you want to take the full advantages of cranberry nutrition, you should go for either the unsweetened, fresh juice, or the dried ones. You can also blend some of the frozen cranberries stored in your refrigerator and make a beautiful, rich smoothie to start your day healthy.

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