Cranberries: The Seasonal Superfood You Need More Of

Cranberries: The Seasonal Superfood You Need More Of

Native to North America, cranberries grow on about 58,000 acres of farmland across the northern United States, Canada, and Chile. They arrive in grocery stores during the holidays, just before Thanksgiving. Most people don’t know what to do with them and tend to opt for their dried, sugary, packaged versions that are not as healthy.

When you think of holiday fruits, apples, pomegranates, and pears seem to get most of the attention. You can enjoy all of those fruits as snacks and many varieties are available during the fall and winter. Cranberries fall to the wayside because they seem to only be for one side dish: cranberry sauce. Consuming more cranberries may improve immune function, reduce the risk of heart disease, and manage urinary tract infections (UTIs). Some preclinical studies even found that cranberries contain compounds that triggered cancer cell death in test tubes. 

Nutrition Facts Of Cranberries

Cranberries have a high water content of nearly 90%, with the rest being mostly fiber and carbs. According to nutritional data, one cup (100 grams) of unsweetened cranberries contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 46
  • Water: 87%
  • Carbs: 12.2 grams
  • Fiber: 4.6 grams
  • Protein: 0.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Sugar: 4 grams

Vitamins And Minerals

Of the many vitamins in cranberries, vitamins C, E, and K1 are the standouts. Vitamin C is a one of the predominant antioxidants in cranberries, helping to maintain skin, bone, and muscle health. Vitamin E is a class of fat-soluble vitamins, while vitamin K1 is necessary for blood clotting. In regards to minerals, manganese and copper are most prevalent in cranberries. Copper is a trace mineral that most people don’t consume enough of. Low copper levels can often have adverse effects on health. The body needs manganese for its antioxidant system, but also for optimal growth and metabolism. 

Fiber

Cranberries contain two types of fiber: insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Pectin, cellulose, and hemicellulose are the forms of insoluble fiber, which pass through your gut intact. Insoluble fiber attracts water into your stool, making it softer and easier to pass. The soluble fiber in cranberries helps to improve digestion, but also works to improve the body’s glucose control and blood cholesterol. Too much soluble fiber may contribute to digestive symptoms like diarrhea, though. 

Other Plant Compounds

Just like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, cranberries exhibit an impressive antioxidant profile. The bioactive compounds, specifically flavonol and polyphenols, may protect against UTIs and enhance immune function. Most of these compounds are present in the skin of cranberries, but some also exist in the berries themselves. According to several test-tube studies, the plant compounds in cranberries may slow the growth of cancer cells and reduce inflammation. Research on human testing is currently limited, but these findings indicate promise for future tests. 

Now that you’ve learned about cranberries, you need to know how to incorporate them into your diet. Do so before they go out of season by making some of the following recipes. Let us know if you like them in the comments!

Simple Blended Cranberry Sauce

Skip the traditional can and get back to real ingredients this holiday season by making this zesty raw vegan blended cranberry sauce.

Click here to make the recipe. 

Cranberry Persimmon Pomegranate Smoothie

Embrace some of the most nutritionally diverse ingredients when you enjoy this refreshing cranberry persimmon pomegranate smoothie.

Click here to make the recipe. 

Cranberry Ginger Orange Punch

Toast to your health and ring in the New Year with a scrumptious cranberry punch. You’ll be drunk on deliciousness and nutrients!

Click here to make the recipe. 

Beet Cranberry Antioxidant Holiday Smoothie

Increase your antioxidant intake when you slurp up this tangy beet and cranberry smoothie that embraces seasonal holiday ingredients.

Click here to make the recipe. 

2022-05-11T01:37:28-07:00

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