Cranberry; Types, Nutritional Value, Recipes, Health Benefits

Cranberry; Types, Nutritional Value, Recipes, Health Benefits

Cranberry is a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium. In Britain, cranberry may refer to the native species Vaccinium oxycoccos,[1] while in North America, cranberry may refer to Vaccinium macrocarpon.[2] Vaccinium oxycoccos is cultivated in central and northern Europe,

Cranberry juice is the juice made from cranberries, which are one of the native fruits of North America. The juice is rich in nutrients and is used in food as well as in medicinal products. [3] Cranberries are members of the Ericaceae family and are native to North America. Cranberries have a tremendous amount of antioxidant capacity as compared to other vegetables and fruits like broccoli, spinach, and apples. One cup of cranberries measures a total 8983 antioxidant capacity.

Nutritional Value of Cranberry

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 46 kcal (190 kJ)
Carbohydrates
12.2 g
Sugars 4.04 g
Dietary fiber 4.6 g
Fat
0.13 g
Protein
0.39 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A equiv.

beta-Carotene
lutein zeaxanthin
0%

3 μg

0%

36 μg

91 μg
Thiamine (B1)
1%

0.012 mg

Riboflavin (B2)
2%

0.02 mg

Niacin (B3)
1%

0.101 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)
6%

0.295 mg

Vitamin B6
4%

0.057 mg

Folate (B9)
0%

1 μg

Vitamin C
16%

13.3 mg

Vitamin E
8%

1.2 mg

Vitamin K
5%

5.1 μg

Minerals Quantity%DV
Calcium
1%

8 mg

Iron
2%

0.25 mg

Magnesium
2%

6 mg

Manganese
17%

0.36 mg

Phosphorus
2%

13 mg

Potassium
2%

85 mg

Sodium
0%

2 mg

Zinc
1%

0.1 mg

Other constituents Quantity
Water 87.13 g
[4]
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Health Benefits of Cranberry

  • Prevents Urinary Tract Infections – Urinary tract infection refers to the presence of microorganisms in the urine beyond the permissible limit. There is significant evidence that suggests that cranberry juice helps to prevent urinary tract infection[5]. The proanthocyanidins found in cranberry juice prevent the bacteria from binding to the cells of the bladder walls. These compounds prevent the bacteria from multiplying further and flush them out of the body through urine. This juice makes the urine more acidic, thus creating an environment that is inhospitable for the infection-causing bacteria to thrive. Drinking cranberry juice regularly can prevent recurring tract infections in middle-aged and pregnant women.
  • Anti-tumor Properties – The polyphenol compound present in cranberry has anti-tumor effects. Regular consumption of cranberry juice inhibits the development and spread of lung, breast, colon and prostate tumors[6]. The presence of salicylic acid reduces swelling and prevents the formation of blood clots which can lead to a tumor. The anti-tumor efficacy offered by cranberry juice is attributed to the presence of polyphenolic compounds within the fruit. [7] A study led by Dr. [8] Polly Ferguson, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, University of Western Ontario suggested that regular consumption of cranberry juice inhibits the development and spread of lung, breast, colon, prostate, and other cancers. Cranberry juice contains a high amount of salicylic acid which can help reduce swelling, prevent blood clots, and eliminate tumors. These compounds found in cranberries suppress the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein and encourage the formation of blood platelets (9).
  • Combats Tooth Decay – Cranberry juice is also known to prevent tooth decay. Proanthocyanidin, found in cranberries, inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause plaque and prevents the decay of teeth due to development of cavities (10). Good dental hygiene along with a moderate consumption of cranberry juice disrupts the mechanism of pathogenesis and promotes good dental health. Unsweetened cranberry juice decreases the incidence of the bacteria that are found in the mouth and combats bad breath too. A healthy dose of this juice ensures clean teeth at all times.
  • Improves Heart Health – Cranberry juice can help lower the risk of heart-related ailments and assist in sustaining cardiovascular health. The flavonoids present in cranberries have antioxidant properties and may decrease the threat of atherosclerosis. [11] Atherosclerosis is a disease in which the arteries are narrowed due to the build-up of fat, calcium, and cholesterol found in blood. [12] This obstructs the flow of oxygen-rich blood to various parts of the body and may lead to potentially fatal outcomes like heart attacks and strokes. These compounds have been shown to delay and suppress the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) and beneficially stimulate the blood platelets.
  • Prevents Cancer – Incorporating cranberry juice into the daily diet can even prevent the occurrence of certain types of cancers [13]. Cranberry contains proanthocyanidins, which inhibit the growth of various cancer cells. Studies have suggested that diets rich in flavonoids play a fundamental role in reducing the risk of cancer as well as cancer mortality. [14] Cranberry juice contains anti-carcinogenic components that interfere with the growth of cancer cells, particularly those associated with colon and prostate cancer. [15]
  • Improves Digestion – Peptic ulcers are caused by a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori. This microorganism attacks the protective layer of the stomach and duodenum, which is a first part of the intestine. This may lead to further inflammation of the stomach lining. Foods rich in flavonoids, a category that includes anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins, like cranberries, apples, and garlic help reduce the risk of stomach disorders, including stomach ulcers, by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori bacteria. An investigative study by the Beijing Institute for Cancer Research performed on a group of patients having that type of stomach disorders showed a 50% advantage over patients who didn’t consume cranberry juice. [16]
  • Anti-aging Benefits – The USDA scientists at the Human Research Center suggest that the wealth of phytonutrients and antioxidants present in cranberries play a vital role in providing protection against the problems that develop with age, such as memory loss and lack of coordination. [17] Cranberries have a multitude of therapeutic properties that protect the cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals that contribute to aging, thereby making the skin look younger. [18] 
  • Prevents Tooth Decay – According to new research studies, cranberry juice prevents tooth cavities. Proanthocyanidins, a chemical compound present in cranberries, inhibits harmful bacteria from clinging to teeth. [19] These components inhibit acid production and protect the teeth from periodontal diseases by preventing the growth of plaque. Good oral hygiene, along with the consumption of organic premium dried cranberries, disrupts the pathogenic mechanism of dental caries and generally makes for good dental health. [20] At the same time, one should watch out for the soaring sugar content and the acidity of some commercially available juices – natural cranberry juice is always better!
  • Avoids Respiratory Infections – According to conducted studies, cranberry juice helps inhibit certain strains of the Haemophilus influenza, which is a common cause of ear and respiratory infections in children. The juice inhibits the bacteria’s hair-like structures, inhibiting them from adhering to the surface of the skin.[21]
  • Strengthens Bones and Teeth – Although cranberry juice is a natural source of calcium, many juice companies add extra calcium. Natural or otherwise, calcium reduces the risk of getting osteoporosis.
  • Cures Cold – Fresh cranberry juice is effective in fighting infections. It cures sore throats and colds.
  • Fights Common Infections – Cranberry juice is also effective in curing infections like cold, flu and sore throat [22]. It also soothes the respiratory tract and inhibits the growth of certain strains of Haemophilus influenza which are a common cause of respiratory and ear infections in children. Several types of research have indicated that cranberry juice protects the brain from neurological damage and other brain-related diseases.
  • Soothes Discomfort Caused Due To Ulcers – The flavonoid content of cranberry juice reduces the risk of developing stomach disorders like peptic ulcer by inhibiting the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes infection in the stomach [23]. A study has revealed that patients who consumed cranberry juice reported twice the relief when compared to those who did not consume it.
  • Prevents Scurvy – The high vitamin C content in cranberry juice is extremely vital for the production of collagen in the body which is responsible for the healthy functioning of the tissues. This is beneficial in preventing the occurrence of scurvy and other related diseases [24].
  • Soothes Inflammation – The anti-inflammatory properties of cranberry juice work extremely well in treating inflammation, particularly lung inflammation, caused by the influenza virus. Non-dialyzable material present in cranberries obstructs the virus from sticking to the cells, thereby preventing infections [25].
  • Aids Weight Loss – Cranberry juice has an emulsifying effect on the fats deposited in the body which, in turn, help in losing weight. Owing to its fiber content, there is a tendency to stay satiated for a longer period of time
  • Boosts Immunity The juice of cranberries is rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals which promote a healthy immune system. It also eases the symptoms of age-related problems like memory loss, lack of coordination etc[26].
  • Curbs Yeast Infection – Cranberries are also known to curb a rare kind of infection known as yeast infection. Yeast infection is caused due to an overgrowth of naturally occurring bacteria in the body and occurs mostly in men and children [27]. This juice contains substances that render the bacteria ineffective to cling to the walls of the mouth, intestines or urinary tract. Fresh cranberry juice flushes out yeast and other excess fungi from the body.
  • Prevents Kidney Stones – The calcium present in cranberry juice strengthens the teeth and bones, thereby reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis. It also contains quinic acid which is beneficial in preventing the formation of kidney stones [28].
  • Skin Benefits Of Cranberry Juice – Cranberries offer a plethora of benefits to the skin. Cranberry juice regenerates, moisturizes and brightens the skin. It is effective in treating wrinkles that are primarily caused due to free radicals.
  • Anti- Aging Properties – With its high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins C, B3, and B5, drinking cranberry juice every day not only enhances the turnover of cells but also shields them against any damage caused due to environmental factors [29].The free radicals present in the environment are responsible for the formation of wrinkles, redness, pigmentation and fine lines on the skin. Antioxidants in cranberry juice combat the free radicals by supplying the missing electrons, reducing the damage caused and slowing down the aging process.
  • Acts as a Toner – The acidic nature of cranberry juice also helps people with oily skin [30]. The enzymes present in this fruit exfoliate dead skin and unclog the sebaceous glands which prevent the formation of sebum. Mix cranberry juice along with honey and rub it on the face. Leave it on for 20 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. This instant mix works as a wonderful toner for the skin.
  • Firms Up the Skin – Vitamin C in cranberry juice is crucial for the production of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, the amino acids which are required for the production of collagen in the body. Collagen helps the blood vessels under the skin carry oxygen and other nutrients which, in turn, soften and firm up the skin and make it look young and radiant. This juice is a favorite as it offers ample protection against the harsh winter weather conditions. Consumption of cranberry juice will help keep the skin smooth and supple even during winters [31].
  • Treats Acne – The antiseptic properties of this juice are very effective for treating acne and boils on the skin. Cranberry juice is rich in resveratrol, an antioxidant, which is very effective in minimizing acne and pimples [32]. A mask made with cranberry juice as one of the primary ingredients brightens the skin and gives an instant fresh look. Mix cranberry juice with orange peel powder and a bit of honey. Make a fine paste of it. Apply it all over the face and leave it on for 20 minutes. When applied on a regular basis, it is sure to give the skin a lighter tone.
  • Promotes Hair Growth – Cranberry juice is considered to be one of the best fruit juices for long and lustrous hair. Vitamins A and C that are present in cranberry juice are the two main vitamins that promote the growth of healthy hair. Regular consumption of cranberry juice prevents hair loss and promotes the growth of hair [33].
  • Prevents Psoriasis and Alopecia – The antiseptic and antifungal properties of this juice prevent dandruff, psoriasis and other scalp-related problems [34]. Cranberry juice, when applied topically on the scalp, helps to get rid of these conditions. The vitamin C in cranberry juice is an essential nutrient to treat damaged hair and prevent a variety of hair disorders. Cranberry juice can help to combat alopecia and male baldness.

Cranberry

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