What are some of the health benefits of the cranberry?
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods into your diet, including fruits. In fact, USDA recommends that consumers eat up to 2 cups of fruit daily.
Cranberry products can help consumers meet these daily fruit intake recommendations. Cranberries contain essential vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber and other naturally occurring compounds that may have potential health benefits. For example, each ¼ cup serving of Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries provides ½ cup of fruit and is a good source of fiber. Other products can help as well – for reference, each of the following provides one cup of fruit:
How are Americans doing with regards to meeting fruit serving recommendations? Many children (1-8 years old) do meet their recommended intakes for fruit, however, many older children and adults do not. Teen girls (14-18 years old) and adult men and women generally have lower fruit intakes that are below recommendations.
Based on this data, there needs to be a shift towards consuming more fruits. Most Americans would benefit from consuming more nutrient-dense fruits, like cranberries, which would go a long way in helping them meet the daily fruit serving recommendations.
Low Sugar Content and Tart Taste
Cranberry products are usually sweetened for consumer enjoyment because, unlike other berries, cranberries are naturally low in sugar and high in acidity, making them extremely tart. The Dietary Guidelines recognize “[t]here is room for Americans to include limited amounts of added sugars in their eating patterns, including to improve the palatability of some nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables that are naturally tart (e.g., cranberries and rhubarb).” So, while some cranberry products may contain added sugar, they can still be part of a healthy diet.
For example, the total amount of sugar in Craisins® dried cranberries is lower or similar to that of other dried fruit that are inherently higher in sugar content.
Also, consider Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail. While Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail is lower in sugars and calories compared to other commonly consumed juices, some may perceive it as “unhealthy” due to the added sugar. That perspective, however, fails to take the cranberry’s nutrient density and naturally low sugar content into consideration.
Being so low in naturally occurring sugar also gives cranberries the advantage of being a more versatile fruit. For comparison, cranberries have only 4 grams of sugar per cup. On the other hand, grapes have 23 grams, pomegranates have 24 grams, and apples have 13 grams. Given the unique nature, cranberries can be enjoyed and used in recipes in a variety of ways, allowing the consumer to decide how much sugar they want to add depending on their individualized palate and dietary needs.
Cranberries provide vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fiber. Craisins® Dried Cranberries are a delicious wholesome snack that are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and a good source of fiber. Reduced Sugar Craisins® Dried Cranberries are an excellent source of fiber with 10g of dietary fiber in every ¼ cup serving.
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