Cranberries Are Good For…
Cranberries are well known for treating urinary tract infections, but they do much more – from cardiovascular protection to cancer prevention.
Nutrition Composition of Cranberries
Cranberries contain lots of fiber, vitamin C, and manganese.
|Nutrition Facts For 1 Cup of Chopped Cranberries||% DV|
|Total Fat:||0.1 g||0%|
|Saturated Fat:||0.0 g|
|Total Carbohydrate:||13 g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber:||5 g||20%|
|Vitamin A||66.0 IU||1%|
|Vitamin C||14.6 mg||24%|
|Vitamin E||1.3 mg||7%|
|Vitamin K||5.6 mcg||7%|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 mg||3%|
|Vitamin B12||0.0 mcg||0%|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.3 mg||3%|
Natural Remedies and Prevention with Cranberries
The phytonutrients in cranberries include phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and triterpenoids. It has long been known that cranberries can prevent and cure urinary tract infections. The proanthocyanidins in cranberries inhibit bacteria from latching onto the lining of the urinary tract. These proanthocyanidins also prevent bacteria that cause ulcers from latching onto the stomach lining.
Cranberry extracts support the immune system and have been proven to reduced the risk of colds and flu. Cranberries help the entire digestive tract from aiding in gum health in the mouth through supporting the balance of bacteria in the gut.
Cranberries are both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, especially when the berries are eaten as a whole food. The anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation in the stomach, the colon and the cardiovascular system. In the vascular system, these properties inhibit the formation of plaque on the vessel walls.
Studies have confirmed that cranberries help prevent cancer, specifically breast, colon, prostate, and lung cancer.
Native Americans used cranberries in a poultice to stop bleeding and for their antibiotic qualities.
Cranberry History and Culture
Cranberries were grown by Native Americans before Europeans came to the continent. Colonists exported cranberries to England in the early 1800s. Cultivation spread across the northern area of what is now the United States and Canada to Scandinavia and Great Britain. Cranberries are grown in Europe and Northern Asia as well as Chile.
Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in very particular soil conditions: a bed of sand, covered with gravel, covered with peat, covered with sand. These soil conditions can be found in the northern United States wetlands where glaciers once carved the land. Cranberries are often raised in bogs and harvested while floating on water.
Are there Genetically Modified Cranberries?
Cranberries are not genetically modified; however, cranberry juices and dried cranberries are often sweetened with either high fructose corn syrup or beet sugar and 90% of corn and the sugar beet crops are genetically modified.
Organic Versus Conventional Cranberries
Proponents of conventional farming methods for cranberries state that the bogs used to raise cranberries are rife with natural pests and that the wetlands encourage fungi. The What’s On My Food? website reveals 13 pesticides found on cranberries. Of these, 3 are known or probable carcinogens, 6 are suspected hormone disruptors, 5 are neurotoxins, 1 is a developmental or reproductive toxin and 6 are honeybee toxins.
It is interesting to hear from the other side. Cranberry Hill Farm, an organic cranberry grower, had this to say about their organic production:
We are willing to accept lower yields and do not ”push” our vines into high yield production with chemical fertilizers. This keeps the soil and the insects in balance, we welcome the presence of our helpers: such as spiders, wasps, bees, birds and other residents of the bog.
In the spring we flood the bog with clean spring water to retard the development of pests and weeds. We put on a layer of sand to bury some insect eggs and improve the surface of the bog. We feed the vine with fish emulsion and other organic nutrients, and weed, weed, weed by hand.
It is a lot of work and we hope that the spirits of the Native Americans who lived here before us and appreciated the cranberry harvest, see us and approve of how we manage our bogs.”
Fair Trade Cranberries
We did not find an fair trade issues for Cranberries. The U.S. is the leading grower of cranberries in the world.
Cranberry Human Rights Issues
We found no human rights issues regarding cranberry agriculture, but there are certainly environmental issues and human repercussions to the extensive pesticide use for commercial growers.
Things You Didn’t Know About Cranberries
There are only 3 commercially cultivated fruit crops that are native to North America. Cranberries are one of the three.
Cranberry vines do not need to be replanted each year. If properly cared for, vines last for years. Many cranberry farms produce crops each year from vines 150+ years old.
How to Store Cranberries So They Last Longer
Be sure to sort, removing any damaged or shriveled berries before refrigeration. Berries can be refrigerated for up to 20 days. Frozen berries can be kept for several years. Do not thaw the berries until you are ready to use them.
How to Pick Good Cranberries
Choose firm, plump, dark red berries. They should not be bruised, broken, shriveled, tough, or sticky.
Things to Consider
There is one contraindication for adding cranberries to your diet. If you suffer from kidney stones, especially calcium-oxalate stones, cranberries may exacerbate your condition.
Remember that the benefits of cranberries can be negated with pesticide consumption, GMO consumption, or sugar consumption. Look for organic dried berries sweetened with juice, organic unsweetened juice which can be sweetened with stevia or other juices, and organic fresh or frozen whole berries.
Whole berries pack a much greater nutritional punch than juice.
Raw Cranberry Relish Recipes:
The following recipes come courtesy of Raw Chef Dan.
Raw Cranberry Relish
The following is a recipe from Raw Chef Dan for Raw Cranberry Relish.
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 4 Medjool dates
- 2 Tbsp chopped ginger
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ med orange
- ½ juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup loose mint leaves
- 1/2 red apple
Simply blend the ingredients in a food processor.
Spiced Cranberry Slaw
- Raw Chef Dan
- Cranberries – The World’s Healthiest Foods
- Cranberries, raw – Self Nutrition Data
- How Cranberries Grow: “Cranberries 101” – An Introduction – Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association
- Growing Organically – Cranberry Hill Farm
- Cranberries – What’s on My Food?
- S. Rep. McGovern Joins Kerry, Brown to Launch Bipartisan Senate Cranberry Caucus – Congressman Jim McGovern