The fresh cranberry is a small, rounded, red berry which is very tart in taste but that doesn’t stop us from consuming it because the cranberry benefits are so overwhelming that we have found many other ways to consume these terrific berries in day to day life. Like we added these delicious berries in different snacks like cakes, muffins, cookies, or in the form of beverages as cocktails, juices, aerated drinks, etc. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and are referred to as “powerhouse of antioxidants” due to which they provide numerous health benefits. Some of the common cranberry benefits include reducing inflammation, improving heart health, boosting digestive health, and preventing UTIs and cavities.
First let’s take a quick look at the nutritional profile of cranberry fruit before discussing its health benefits :
Calories : 46 kcal
Water content : Approximately 87%
Carbohydrates : 12.2 grams
Sugars : 4.04 grams
Dietary fiber : 4.6 grams
Protein : 0.39 grams
Fat : 0.13 grams
Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin C – 13.3 mg (22% of DV)
- Vitamin E – 1.2 mg
- Vitamin K – 5.1mcg
- Vitamin A – 18 IU
- Folate – 1 mcg
- Potassium – 85 mg
- Calcium – 8 mg
- Magnesium – 6 mg
- Phosphorus – 13 mg
- Iron – 0.25 mg
The Potential Benefits Of Cranberry Benefits :
- Prevents Urinary Tract Infection : Cranberries are perhaps best known for their ability to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). They contain compounds called proanthocyanidins that can prevent harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. This may reduce the risk of UTIs.
- Promotes Good Heart Health : Consuming cranberries may support heart health by improving cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure. The antioxidants in cranberries may also reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is a key step in the development of heart disease. Cranberries also promote the high level of HDL cholesterol, which is a good cholesterol and helps in good heart health.
- Improves Digestive Health : Cranberries are a good source of dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health. Fiber can help prevent constipation and support a healthy digestive system.
- Improves Oral Health : Cranberries contain compounds that may help prevent the growth of bacteria associated with tooth decay and gum disease. Drinking cranberry juice without added sugars may promote oral health.
- Slows Down Cancer Progression : The cranberry benefits includes reducing the rate of cancer growth by following ways –
- Triggers the death of cancerous cells
- Slowing the rate of growth of cancerous cells
- Reducing inflammation
Studies have suggested that cranberries have shown effective results in case of breast, colon and prostate cancer.
- Anti-Inflammatory : The phytochemicals in cranberries have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with a variety of health problems, including heart disease and cancer.
- Important In Weight Management: Due to their low calorie and high fiber content, cranberries can be a part of a balanced diet for weight management. The fiber in cranberries helps promote a feeling of fullness, which can aid in controlling calorie intake. High fiber content of cranberries helps in improving insulin sensitivity, thus promoting weight loss.
- Improves Skin Health: The antioxidants in cranberries may help protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays and environmental pollutants, potentially promoting healthier and more youthful-looking skin. Cranberries are a rich source of vitamin C which promotes collagen formation which keeps young and firm with age. Not only that, cranberries contain vitamin E which is crucial for good skin health.
Cranberry Juice Benefits
Well you will be surprised to learn that we hardly eat fresh raw cranberries because in fresh form they are very tart. So, to extract the benefits of cranberries we consume them mostly either in the form of juice or dried ones. Fresh cranberry juice provides many health benefits but it does contain added sugar and preservatives. So, be a bit cautious about the serving size of your packed cranberry juice. Cranberry juice fiber content is comparatively lower then fresh cranberries but due to presence of carbs in it. It serves as a great source of energy and a healthy snack too.
Let’s discover the cranberry juice benefits :
Cranberry juice is high in vitamins C, E, and quercetin, phytochemicals that have antioxidant effects. Cranberry juice benefits are derived from the following major properties of the cranberries —
- Cranberries are Rich In polyphenols: this property of cranberries helps in treating UTIs, Oral (mouth) problems, and gum diseases. They also play a major role in heart health and cancer progress. The main polyphenols found in cranberry juice are flavonols, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, etc.
- Rich in Antioxidants: The main role of antioxidants is to remove the free radicals accumulated in our body. These free radicals are very harmful for us as they can precipitate many diseases and disease like conditions in our body. For example inflammation, aging, cancerous growth, etc. So consuming cranberry juice will surely help in keeping a check on the free radicals of the body. Most common antioxidants found in cranberry juice are vitamin C, vitamin E, and Quercetin.
- Good Source of Phenols and Phenolic compounds: The main phenolic compounds found in cranberry juice are benzoic acid, hydroxycinnamic acid, and ellagic acids. The role of these phenolic compounds include prevention of neuron degeneration, promotes brain health, and cardiac health.
- Rich In vitamin C: Cranberry juice is one of the richest sources of vitamin C and it is known to boost collagen production that keeps your skin firm and wrinkle free. Thus helping in delaying the aging process. Vitamin C is also a great antioxidant which helps in removing free radicals which helps in relieving oxidative stress.
Precautions to Take with Cranberry Juice
Drinking cranberry juice in moderation is safe. However, there are some general precautions that must be followed, which are
- People who take blood-thinning medicine must be cautious because of the possible interaction between cranberry juice and enzymes metabolizing blood thinners.
- People with kidney-related issues should limit their consumption of cranberry juice. It might cause side effects.
- There is no sufficient information available to show the safe use of cranberry juice for breastfeeding and pregnant women. Thus, during pregnancy, women should consult their doctor before having it.
- People should be cautious while giving it to children and older people due to their weak immunity and might develop reactions in the body.
- If you are on any medication then it is advised to consult your dietician or doctor for making it a regular part of your diet.
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There are no two ways that cranberry and cranberry juice both are very rich in antioxidants, fiber and also serve a great source of energy. So, enjoy your cranberries in salads, shakes, smoothies, mueslis, cakes, cookies, etc. But make sure you keep a check on the sugar content of these food items to avoid weight gain, increased blood sugar and cholesterol levels.