by Jenna Koroly, MS, RD, CSOWM, CDN
One cup whole cranberries contains 46 calories, 12 g carbohydrates, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, and 5 g fiber. Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, with 22% of the daily value. They are also a good source of manganese, vitamin E, and vitamin K [i].
Cranberries may play a role in slowing cancer progression. A review of cranberries and cancer included 34 studies on whole cranberry extract, cranberry juice, and cranberry derived constituents and 16 target organs. Both in vitro and in vivo studies were looked at. Overall, the authors found data to strongly support anti-proliferative and pro-death influence of cranberries in various cancer cells [ii].
Cranberries have also been shown to improve cardiovascular health including LDL and HDL cholesterol [Neto, CC, 2007 as cited in reference ii]. In addition, cranberry juice is perhaps best known for its role in preventing urinary tract infections. It is important to note that studies have found correlations between cranberry and health of the urinary tract, although this is more so in high concentrations such as in cranberry capsules rather than cranberry juice.
Ways to Eat
When using cranberries in cooking, keep in mind that dried cranberries do have fiber but typically have a lot of sugar added to them, while whole cranberries have fiber and natural sugars. Because of this, try varying which kind of cranberries you use. Try them in trail mix, in your favorite baking recipes, in salads, and of course in a classic homemade cranberry sauce. Keep an eye out for our Savor Cook’s recipe featuring cranberries, coming soon!
[i] Cranberries, raw. Retrieved from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1875/2
[ii] Weh KM, Clarke J, & Kresty LA. (2016). Cranberries and cancer: an update of preclinical studies evaluating the cancer inhibitory potential of cranberry and cranberry derived constituents. Antioxidants, 5(3):27. doi: 10.3390/antiox5030027