Dried cranberries: uses and nutritional benefits

Cranberries are shrubs of the Ericaceae family growing in the cold bogs of North America and Canada. The Amerindians consumed these wild and rare fruits which they called "atoka" to disinfect wounds and fight against bladder problems. Cranberries are rarely consumed fresh (5% of the production), they are mostly transformed into acidic juice or dried. Historically, cranberry juice was the first superfood qualified as such, due to scientific studies showing its effectiveness on urinary tract infections. Dried cranberries have health benefits: prevention of cystitis, stomach ulcers, better oral hygiene, etc. It is the capacity of cranberries to interfere with the adhesion of certain bacteria on the walls of our organs that seems to explain these benefits. In addition to their anti-infectious character, cranberries are little bombs of antioxidants. Latin name: Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton. Botanical family: Ericaceae. Part used: Fruit.

Recommended consumption

The dried Cranberry is a dry fruit. It contains more sugar than a fresh Cranberry, the recommendations of daily consumption are defined :

  • As a classic cure or for pleasure: 20 to 30 g of dried cranberries per day, or about 40 cranberries.
  • As a preventive treatment against urinary tract infections: 50 to 60 g of dried cranberries, or about 100 cranberries per day, for 6 weeks.
In what form?

To make the most of their benefits, you can use them :

  • Whole
  • In pieces
At what time of day?

We advise you to use them during the following meal(s) to take full advantage of their benefits:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Dinner
What modes of use?

You can incorporate them into the following preparations to make them easier to take:

  • Salad
  • Soup
  • Dessert
  • Dish
  • Mixed with other dried fruits
Precautions for use
  • High consumption of cranberries is not recommended for individuals prone to urinary stones due to the high oxalic acid content.
  • High consumption of cranberries can disrupt the INR (international normalized ratio) biological test in individuals on oral anticoagulants.

Health Nutrition Benefits

Cranberries can complement your healthy, varied diet.

Urogenital system

Cranberries are particularly rich in polyphenols, including type A proanthocyanidins (PAC-A), which are specific to them. Numerous scientific studies show that Cranberries can be proposed in prevention of recurrent cystitis. Since PAC-As prevent the attachment of Escherichia coli to the bladder and ureter wall. This preventive ability shows better results in women (see our cystitis and diet guide).

Oral system

Cranberries seem to be beneficial for oral hygiene: they prevent the microbes responsible for cavities and plaque from "clinging" to the teeth and gums.

Digestive system

Cranberries participate in the prevention of gastrointestinal pathologies. First of all, they are rich in fiber, which promotes the evacuation of stools: they accelerate transit (see our guide constipation and diet). The polyphenols present in Cranberries modulate the composition of the intestinal microbiota: they will promote the presence of certain microorganisms through their probiotic power and decrease the development of other microorganisms through their antimicrobial activities. Finally, scientific studies suggest that cranberries have a beneficial effect in case of infection by Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium is the leading cause of development of gastric ulcer and cancer in humans.

Metabolism

Cranberries are rich in polyphenols: anthocyanins, flavonoids and proanthocyanidin, which gives them a high antioxidant capacity. This power acts as a preventive measure against cardiovascular complications. Moreover, they are low in saturated fatty acids and rich in fiber, two factors that prevent cholesterol.

Cardiac system

Dried Cranberries are naturally low in sodium, so they do not contribute to sodium intake. In excess, sodium promotes high blood pressure. On the other hand, it would contribute to decrease the blood pressure. The absence of sodium in dried Cranberries reinforces the benefits of a varied and balanced diet in the prevention of blood pressure disorders.

Nutritional properties

Main properties

  • Antibacterial (pro-anthocyanidin): thanks to pro-anthocyanidin type A (PAC-A), dried Cranberries prevent the return of recurrent cystitis. This polyphenol inhibits the adhesion of Escherichia coli by competition effect. In effect, PAC-A will restrict the adhesion proteins (fimbriae) of E. coli from attaching to the epithelia of the bladder and ureter, resulting in the evacuation of E. coli through the urinary stream. According to scientific studies, this effectiveness is more pronounced in women than in children and the elderly. In addition, the solid form of Cranberries shows better results than in liquid form.
  • Digestive protector (pro-anthocyanidin): dried Cranberries are said to help fight infections caused by Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium thrives in acidic environments such as the stomach, it can be responsible for chronic gastritis, gastric ulcer and in the long term stomach cancer.
  • Antioxidant (polyphenols): anthocyanins, pro-anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols, ellagitanins, flavonoids and phenolic acid derivatives are polyphenols with strong antioxidant capacity. They give dried Cranberries an ORAC score of 9090 ┬Ámol TE/100 g and a FRAP score of 3.29 mmol/100 g, which corresponds to an excellent antioxidant capacity.
  • Dental protector (pro-anthocyanidin): the Cranberries participate in the prevention of cavities and dental plaque, by reducing the attachment of germs responsible for these ailments.
  • Cardiovascular protector (fiber, polyphenols): Cranberries are superfoods naturally rich in fiber. Fiber has a cholesterol-lowering power by limiting the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Moreover, Cranberries do not contain saturated fatty acids, which normally promote the development of hyperlipidemia. The polyphenols present in Cranberries are considered powerful antioxidants: they reduce the response to oxidative stress in the body. For cholesterol, this will limit the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol which is at the origin of the inflammatory reaction of the intima, called atherosclerosis.
  • Contributes to the proper functioning of the intestinal system (polyphenols): thanks to their antimicrobial activity and their prebiotic effect, the polyphenols contained in Cranberries modulate the composition of the intestinal microbiota.

Secondary properties

  • Laxative (fiber): thanks to their high fiber content, Cranberries accelerate intestinal transit by significantly increasing stool bulk.
  • Antiviral: Cranberries appear to limit the ability of viruses to colonize the body. Two studies trace a reduction in the infectivity, activity and adherence of influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and B viruses in the presence of Cranberry juice.
  • Antihypertensive (sodium): Cranberries are thought to decrease the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme. Angiotensin is a hormone that increases blood pressure.

Nutritional values

*Recommended Daily Allowance

Learn more about the plant : The Cranberry

The Cranberry is a member of the Ericaceae family, just like the blueberries. This woody perennial plant does not exceed 30 cm. It is native to North America and Canada. The cranberry grows in very acidic, marshy soil, rich in organic matter: peat bogs. Its pink flowers are the origin of its name: the cranberry is a derivative of the contraction "crane berry", because the flower resembles the head and neck of cranes, birds that often feed on its berries. Cranberries are grown for their namesake berries. Two main types of harvesting are used to collect the berries: wet and dry.

Harvesting in flooded bogs

If you want to take a good look at them, we advise you to look at some pictures of a cranberry harvest on the Internet, since it is quite particular: a so-called wet harvest. Cranberry plants love humidity, so they are grown on swampy grounds called bogs. At the beginning of autumn, at the time of the harvest, the plots are voluntarily flooded, then the shrubs are meticulously beaten. The berries then break off the plants and rise to the surface of the water. All that remains is for the growers to direct them to land with the help of large nets. It is also possible to harvest cranberries in dry bogs, without flooding the plots, but the pictures are less spectacular.

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