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Pucker Up: Cranberries Might Be Good for You

While cranberries surely have an annual place at your holiday table, these plump red berries are actually an excellent fruit to eat all year long. Like other berries, almost 90% of cranberries’ weight is water, so they’re low in calories, sodium, and fat. They’re a good source of fiber and an excellent source of vitamin C, but what makes cranberries stand out is their high amount of polyphenols, such as anthocyanins and tannins. These compounds not only give them their deep red color and astringent taste but also contribute to their free radical-scavenging and anti-inflammatory properties. While some of these compounds are lost during processing, cranberry juices and dried cranberries can still be significant contributors to our intake of beneficial plant compounds. In addition, cranberries have a naturally low glycemic value—unsweetened cranberry juice has only a moderate immediate effect on blood glucose and insulin levels. Even lightly sweetened dried cranberries and cranberry juice may produce healthier glycemic responses than fully sweetened cranberry products, while still being more palatable than unsweetened cranberries. Nevertheless, many cranberry products do contain high amounts of added sugars, so be sure to choose unsweetened or lightly sweetened products.

Source: International Journal of Molecular Sciences

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