Cranberries are a staple fruit enjoyed for generations due to their unique tart flavour and vibrant colour. However, there’s much more to these little berries than meets the eye! Did you know cranberries have various health benefits that can boost your overall well-being? From preventing urinary tract infections to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, the health benefits of cranberries are quite a lot.
Nutritional Index Of Craberrries
Cranberries are a low-calorie fruit that is packed with a variety of essential nutrients. A single cup of cranberries (100g) contains only 46 calories and provides a wealth of vitamins and minerals.
One of the most notable nutrients found in cranberries is vitamin C. A single cup of cranberries contains 16.5mg of vitamin C, roughly 24% of the daily recommended value. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system and can help protect the body against harmful pathogens.
Cranberries are also a good source of vitamin K, which plays an important role in healthy blood clotting. A single cup of cranberries contains 5.1mcg of vitamin K, roughly 6% of the daily recommended value.
In addition to vitamins, cranberries are also rich in minerals such as manganese and potassium. Manganese is important for healthy bone development and can also help regulate blood sugar levels. A single cup of cranberries contains 0.3mg of manganese, almost 15% of the daily recommended value. Potassium is essential for healthy heart function and can also help regulate blood pressure. A single cup of cranberries contains 85mg of potassium, about 2% of the daily recommended value.
Cranberries are also a good source of fibre, with a single cup providing 4.6g of dietary fibre. Fibre is essential for healthy digestion and can also help regulate blood sugar levels.
Overall, cranberries are a nutrient-dense food that can provide a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Cranberries can help you meet your daily nutrient needs while enjoying a delicious and healthy snack.
Health Benefits Of Cranberries
Cranberries offer a variety of health benefits due to their unique combination of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. Some of the most notable health benefits of cranberries include:
1. Urinary Tract Health
Cranberries are well-known for their ability to support a healthy urinary tract, making them a popular choice for preventing and treating urinary tract infections (UTIs). This is due to proanthocyanidins, an antioxidant compound found in cranberries.
Proanthocyanidins prevent harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, from adhering to the urinary tract walls, reducing the risk of UTIs. A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that consuming cranberry juice daily reduced the risk of UTIs in women with a history of recurrent UTIs. Research also shows that cranberry supplements can reduce the incidence of UTIs in individuals with spinal cord injuries.
The proanthocyanidins in cranberries also have antibacterial properties, which can help kill off harmful bacteria in the urinary tract. A study published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents found that cranberry juice can inhibit the growth of antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli.
In addition to proanthocyanidins, cranberries contain other compounds that can support urinary tract health. For example, cranberries are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce urinary tract inflammation.
To enjoy the urinary tract health benefits of cranberries, it is recommended to consume them in their natural form, such as fresh or frozen cranberries or 100% pure cranberry juice. But it is not always possible to reap all the health benefits of cranberries by taking fresh fruit. In such cases, it is best to take cranberry sachets like Berdi, which promise the prevention and treatment of UTIs.
Learn everything you need to know about urinary tract infections (UTIs).
2. Antioxidant Properties
In addition to supporting urinary tract health, cranberries are also known for their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals, which can contribute to chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Cranberries contain various antioxidant compounds, including vitamin C, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that cranberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among commonly consumed fruits.
Consuming cranberries as part of a healthy diet can help provide antioxidant protection and promote overall health. You can simply incorporate them into your diet by adding them to smoothies, salads, or oatmeal.
3. Immune System Support
Cranberries have been shown to support the immune system due to their high vitamin C content and phytochemicals. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps support the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells and protecting cells from oxidative damage. Phytochemicals, such as flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, have been found to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent infections and reduce inflammation in the body.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming cranberry juice can increase immune cells called natural killer cells in the body, which play a crucial role in fighting infections and cancer. Cranberry extracts can also help enhance the activity of immune cells called T cells, which are involved in the body’s immune response.
Incorporating cranberries into your diet can help provide immune system support and promote overall health. Whether you enjoy them in juice form or as a dried snack, cranberries are a tasty and nutritious way to boost your immune system.
4. Digestive Health
Cranberries can also promote digestive health. The phytochemicals in cranberries have been found to have prebiotic effects, meaning they can help stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. This can help improve digestion and promote overall gut health. Cranberries are also a good source of fibre, which can help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. Incorporating cranberries into your diet can support your digestive system and promote optimal health.
5. Cardiovascular Health
Cranberries are known for their potential to promote cardiovascular health due to their high content of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Several studies have suggested that regular consumption of cranberries may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, and preventing the formation of blood clots.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that drinking cranberry juice can help improve the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in the body, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Another study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that cranberry extracts can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the blood vessels, which can improve cardiovascular health.
Moreover, the proanthocyanidins in cranberries have been found to have antithrombotic effects, meaning they can help prevent the formation of blood clots in the arteries. This can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
6. Oral Health
Cranberries have been found to have potential benefits for oral health. The compounds found in cranberries can help prevent the buildup of bacteria on the teeth and gums, which can reduce the risk of dental plaque and gum disease. This is because cranberries contain polyphenols and flavonoids that have antimicrobial and anti-adhesive properties.
Moreover, cranberries can help promote saliva production, which is important for maintaining oral health. Saliva helps to neutralize acids in the mouth and wash away food particles that can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
It’s important to note that while cranberries can be beneficial for oral health, they should not be used as a replacement for proper dental hygiene practices, such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.
7. Cancer Prevention
Cranberries have been studied for their potential to prevent certain types of cancer due to their high content of antioxidants and other anti-cancer compounds. The phytochemicals present in cranberries, including flavonoids, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Studies suggest that consuming cranberries may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of cranberries may help prevent cancer cells from forming and spreading.
While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of cranberries for cancer prevention, incorporating them into your diet as part of a healthy lifestyle can be beneficial.
It’s important to note that cranberries should not be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment and cancer prevention measures, such as regular cancer screenings and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.