Today we’re featuring one of our favorite fruits: dried cranberries. I love them because they add flavor and zest to virtually any meal and are also a perfect anytime snack.
Here are 10 terrific reasons why you should love dried cranberries too!
1. To help you eat more fruits, MyPlate suggests trying dried fruits, including dried cranberries, as a snack because they are easy to carry and store well. For parents, MyPlate encourages eating dried fruit instead of candy. Perfectly portioned single-serve packs of dried cranberries are available for a grab-and-go snack.
2. Scientists have shown that flavonoids give fruits and vegetables most of their antioxidant properties and that a flavonoid-rich diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. Cranberries naturally contain the flavonoid, proanthocyanidins (PACs). The unusual structure of the PACs found in cranberries offer bacterial anti-adhesive properties not found in other commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.
4. The PACs in cranberries may help prevent the adhesion of certain harmful bacteria, including E. coli, that are associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs).
5. The flavonoids in cranberries, including PACs, may also help to inhibit the bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers, and may help protect LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) from being oxidized.
6. Not only do cranberries have PACs, but dried cranberries are also a good source of fiber – 10% of the Daily Value – with 2.3 grams per serving (40 gram serving). And 1/2 cup of dried cranberries is equal to one serving of fruit (one cup), according to MyPlate recommendations.
7. The amount of sugar in dried cranberries is equal to that of other dried fruits, like raisins and dried cherries. Dried cranberries are sweetened because unlike other berries, cranberries are naturally low in sugar and high in acidity, so they require sweetening to be palatable.
8. A pilot study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that women with recurring UTIs reported a reduction in UTIs for up to six months after consuming one serving of dried cranberries per day for two weeks.
9. Dried cranberries can easily be added to oatmeal, rice and grain side dishes, meat entrées, casseroles, salads, yogurt, cottage cheese, sandwich wraps, home baked cookies, muffins and breads, and more – dried cranberries are a tasty complement to a variety of dishes!
Check out today’s Appetite for Health featured recipe, Couscous and Cranberry Salad.
10. Dried cranberries are truly locally grown. As one of the three widely farmed, commercially cultivated fruits native to North America, cranberries are farmed on over 50,000 acres (20,200 hectares) across the northern United States and Canada!
For more info on dried cranberries, visit the website of The Cranberry Institute.