Cranberries – The Often Overlooked Superfruit

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As moms, we realize how critical it is for us to always feel our best.  After all, it’s no longer just about taking care of ourselves– we have to feel our best so we can care for our little ones.  Being the best we can be for ourselves will also lend to healthier and happier kids. 

That’s why when our clients develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) they often call us to find out what they can do to prevent it from happening again since it disrupts their daily routine and keeps them from feeling their best. 

One of the first questions our clients ask about is cranberry juice.  We aren’t surprised – even when we were growing up, our mom was always buying cranberry juice and told us that she was drinking it to help fight urinary tract infections.  If you’ve heard this also and have been wondering if this is an old wives’ tale, you’ll be happy to know that according to scientific research, this actually appears to be true!  In fact, research suggests that cranberries help prevent UTIs and that drinking about ten ounces of a cranberry juice a day can reduce urinary tract bacteria by nearly 50%!

So what makes cranberries so special? 

Cranberries are packed with phytochemicals, including anthocyanin pigments (they give cranberries their red color) and polyphenolic proanthocyanidins  (PACs) (say that ten times fast!) which help to prevent those UTIs.  Although the PACs found in cranberries are also found in other PAC-rich foods, like chocolate, tea, grapes and apples, the other sources don’t give you the same benefits that cranberries do. Only the PACs in the cranberries are associated with preventing bacterial adhesion and UTIs. So move over goji berries and acai!  Although these fruits seem to be getting a lot of attention for being superfruits, cranberries too are clearly powerful superfruits.

So what are our final words of advice?

If you are prone to urinary tract infections, or if you’ve had one before and want to avoid them, then  aim to get a little more than a cup of cranberry juice a day or to include 40 g (1/3 cup) cranberries in your daily diet.

Need some ideas for getting more cranberries?

Add them into your dry cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, trail mixes or salads. Have a small handful for dessert or add a few on top of your frozen yogurt.  Or you can use this cranberry chutney on your toast or pancakes or as a unique jelly on a peanut butter sandwich or as a condiment for your turkey sandwiches.

Try this delicious recipe to get more cranberries:

Cranberry Nut Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch baking pan.

Beat eggs in a medium mixing bowl until thick. Gradually add sugar, beating until thoroughly blended. Stir in flour and melted butter; blend well. Add cranberries and walnuts, mixing gently just until combined. Spread evenly in pan.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into bars.

Makes 16 servings.

Per Serving: Cal. 146.7 (7% DV), Fat Cal. 62.9, Pro. 2.2g (4% DV), Carb. 19.6g (7% DV), Fat 7.0g (11% DV), Chol. 36.6mg (12% DV), Sod. 36.3mg (2% DV), Vit. A 36.1RE (3% DV), Vit C 1.2mg (2% DV), Vit. E 0.3mg (1% DV), Calcium 10.0mg (1% DV), Iron 0.6 mg (3% DV), Folate 21.2 Ug (5% DV)

 

For more information on the cranberry, visit www.cranberryinstitute.org. The Nutrition Twins work with the Cranberry Institute to educate people about the health benefits of cranberries.

 

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