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Cranberries are considered a superfood due to their high nutritional value and antioxidant content. The health benefits of cranberries range from lowering the risk of urinary tract infections to preventing certain types of cancer  .
Cranberries are mostly consumed as cranberry sauce, cranberry drinks and dried cranberries, which are added to casseroles, stuffing or dessert. Cranberries have high levels of antioxidants compared to other fruits and berries. These antioxidants help in fighting various diseases which outrank many other fruits and vegetables like strawberries, red grapes and broccoli.
Cranberries are versatile fruits and have other medicinal purposes as well.
Nutritional Value Of Cranberries
100 g of cranberries contain 87.32 g water and 46 kcal. They also contain
- 0.46 g protein
- 0.13 g total lipid (fat)
- 11.97 g carbohydrates
- 3.6 g total dietary fibre
- 4.27 g sugar
- 8 mg calcium
- 0.23 mg iron
- 6 mg magnesium
- 11 mg phosphorus
- 80 mg potassium
- 2 mg sodium
- 0.09 mg zinc
- 14.0 mg vitamin C
- 0.012 mg thiamine
- 0.020 mg riboflavin
- 0.101 mg niacin
- 0.057 mg vitamin B6
- 1 µg folate
- 63 IU vitamin A
- 1.32 mg vitamin E
- 5.0 µg vitamin K
Health Benefits Of Cranberries
1. Prevent urinary tract infections
Cranberries contain the antioxidant called proanthocyanidins (PACs) that can help prevent urinary tract infections by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract walls. This reduces the chances of urinary tract infections (UTI)  ,  .
Note: Cranberry juice found at grocery stores does not treat a UTI or bladder infection. Because it takes a very high concentration of cranberry to prevent the bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. Instead, cranberry capsules work best for treating UTI.
2. Improve prostate health
Men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can improve their symptoms with the help of cranberry, according to a study  . Another study also found that cranberry supplements, if taken daily for 60 days, lowered the number of UTIs in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia over the age of 65  .
3. Promote heart health
According to a study, the polyphenols in cranberries lower the risk of cardiovascular disease  . They prevent the build-up of bad cholesterol in the arteries which stop the blood flow to the heart resulting in heart attack and stroke. Another research study has shown that drinking cranberry juice regularly can reduce bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood  .
4. Lower high blood pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when the blood is pushed against the blood vessel walls. Drinking cranberry juice could lower the chances of high blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels and lowering the stress on blood vessels. This boosts the flow of blood throughout the body  .
5. Boost oral health
The proanthocyanidins in cranberries are said to benefit oral health by preventing the bacteria from sticking to the teeth  ,  . Other studies have shown that the presence of polyphenol antioxidants in cranberries limit the onset of gum disease and decrease Porphyromonas gingivalis, the main etiologic agent in chronic periodontitis  .
6. Improve digestion and gut health
Cranberries are a good source of fibre which is important for promoting digestive health. They contain proanthocyanidins that help prevent H.pylori bacteria from sticking to the stomach lining  . These proanthocyanidins also promote gut health by repairing the cell lining of the gut and cure stomach ulcers. They also aid in feeding the healthy gut bacteria and prevent the harmful microbes from affecting the gut  .
7. Aid in cancer prevention
Cranberries contain isoprenoids and polyphenols which contribute to preventing cancer. These antioxidants help in slowing the progression of tumour and stop cancer cell proliferation which reduce the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer  .
8. Boost the immune system
Cranberry has a significant amount of vitamin C which is known to strengthen your immune system. Eating cranberries can fight against the common cold and reduce its duration. Vitamin C also has the ability to stop the damage caused by free radicals and also helps in better iron absorption from plant-based foods  .
9. Control blood sugar
Cranberries taste sweet, but they are low in sugar and a good source of fibre. According to a study in the Journal of Research in Medical Science, drinking a cup of cranberry juice daily aids regulating blood sugar in type 2 diabetic patients  .
10. Prevent kidney stones
Cranberries prevent the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones and reduce the risk factor associated with it. It contains antilithogenic properties which make it a therapeutic agent in managing calcium oxalate urolithiasis  .
Side Effects Of Cranberries
Eating whole cranberries and drinking cranberry juice in excess amounts could cause an upset stomach. If you are having blood-thinning medicines avoid consuming cranberries. People with clotting disorders and diabetes should consult a doctor before consuming cranberries.
Ways To Eat Cranberries
- Eating whole cranberries is the best way to get all the important nutrients from them.
- You can also have them in the form of cranberry smoothie or juice.
- Add cranberries to your oatmeal or home-made breads, muffins and jams.
- You can eat cranberries by adding them to pancakes.
- You can also make a trail mix by mixing dried cranberries, seeds and nuts.
-  Zhao, S., Liu, H., & Gu, L. (2018).American cranberries and health benefits - an evolving story of 25 years. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
-  Hisano, M., Bruschini, H., Nicodemo, A. C., & Srougi, M. (2012). Cranberries and lower urinary tract infection prevention.Clinics (Sao Paulo, Brazil),67(6), 661-668.
-  Raz, R., Chazan, B., & Dan, M. (2004).Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 38(10), 1413–1419.
-  Vidlar, A., Student, V., Vostalova, J., Fromentin, E., Roller, M., & Simanek, V. (2016). Cranberry fruit powder (Flowens™) improves lower urinary tract symptoms in men: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.World Journal of Urology,34(3), 419-424.
-  Ledda, A., Belcaro, G., Dugall, M., Feragalli, B., Riva, A., Togni, S., & Giacomelli, L. (2016). Supplementation with high titer cranberry extract (Anthocran®) for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections in elderly men suffering from moderate prostatic hyperplasia: a pilot study.Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci,20(24), 5205-5209.
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-  Seyyedmajidi, M., Ahmadi, A., Hajiebrahimi, S., Seyedmajidi, S., Rajabikashani, M., Firoozabadi, M., & Vafaeimanesh, J. (2016). Addition of cranberry to proton pump inhibitor-based triple therapy forHelicobacter pylorieradication.Journal of research in pharmacy practice,5(4), 248-251.
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-  Shidfar, F., Heydari, I., Hajimiresmaiel, S. J., Hosseini, S., Shidfar, S., & Amiri, F. (2012). The effects of cranberry juice on serum glucose, apoB, apoA-I, Lp(a), and Paraoxonase-1 activity in type 2 diabetic male patients.Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences,17(4), 355-60.
-  McHarg, T., Rodgers, A., & Charlton, K. (2003). Influence of cranberry juice on the urinary risk factors for calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.BJU international,92(7), 765-768.