Cranberries are one of only a few fruits native to the United States.
Cranberries are low in calories and are an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber. One cup of whole cranberries contains 46 calories, 5 grams of dietary fiber and 22 percent daily value of Vitamin C based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The berries are naturally fat-free and contain only 2 milligrams of sodium per serving. Cranberries are also a good source of manganese with 1 cup of raw berries containing 20 percent daily value of manganese.
Free radicals accumulate naturally in the body as a result of exposure to the sun, chemicals and smoke. Bodies also naturally make free radicals while undergoing normal processes, such as digestion. Though free radicals are common, they can damage cells and contribute to many different cancers. Consuming foods that are rich sources of antioxidants, such as cranberries, can help eliminate free radicals. Both raw cranberries and 100 percent cranberry juice are excellent sources of polyphenols that act as antioxidants.
Drink to Prevention
Each year, 11 million doctor visits are made by people with urinary tract infections, according to the National Kidney Foundation. The bacteria most often responsible for these infections is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, but cranberry juice may help prevent UTIs. Cranberry juice helps prevent bacteria from clinging to the walls of the urinary tract, lowering the chance for infection, explains the National Kidney Foundation. Most people prefer the taste of a cranberry juice cocktail, which usually contains 27 to 33 percent cranberry juice, to 100 percent cranberry juice because full-strength cranberry juice is very acidic and difficult to drink due to the strong taste. Limit your intake of cranberry juice cocktail since most varieties contain added sugar. Cranberry juice isn't a cure for an existing UTI either. Make a visit to your doctor if you think you have a urinary tract infection.
If you're not a fan of the taste of raw cranberries or cranberry juice, you can work the fruit into your diet in other ways you might enjoy. Try cooking sliced cranberries into whole wheat pancakes or bran muffins for a nutrient boost to your breakfast. Sliced raw or dried cranberries make excellent additions to salads and sandwiches. Dried berries also work well mixed in cold cereals and yogurt. Long a Thanksgiving staple, try cranberry sauce spread over chicken or turkey throughout the year for a sweet, tangy flavor.