Cranberries are the next food to focus on in my series, Antioxidant Tuesdays! Over a period of ten weeks, I will talk about each of the foods that study found to be the highest in antioxidants amongst 100 common foods.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
Cranberries have shown to have numerous disease fighting abilities as highlighted in the studies below. Their activies are likely due to their high degree of antioxidant activity (Source) and phytonutrients.
|Type of Phytonutrient||Specific Molecules|
|Phenolic Acids||hydroxybenzoic acids including vanillic acids; hydroxycinnamic acids inculding caffeic, coumaric, cinnamic, and ferulic acids|
|Anthocyanins||cyanidins, malvidins, and peonidins|
|Flavonoids||quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol|
Cranberries or their extracts have shown to:
- Inhibit periodontal disease (Source)
- Inhibit oxidative processes including LDL oxidation (leads to atherosclerosis) (Source)
- Inhibits oxidative damage to neurons during ischemia (protect against brain damage when your brain isn’t getting enough oxygen) (Source)
- Inhibits oxidative and inflammatory damage to vasculature (leads to atherosclerosis) (Source)
- Inhibits cancer in vitro (in vitro=in cell culture, outside of body) (Source)
- Inhibition of COX activity (COX= inflammatory) (Source)
- Inhibition of tumor growth in an animal model (Source)
- The data on UTIs in unconvincing and cranberries or juice may only help women recurrent UTIs (Source) (Source)
Ocean Spray is undergoing a investigation right now to settle the amount of proanthocyanidins (PACs), healthy flavanoids, in its drinks. Ocean Spray says it should be determined in 6-12 months. Apparently the mechanisms for measuring PACs have not been well established which has led some to question its reliability. You can read the study here.
The USDA has a database for the amount of PACs in foods which you can find here
How to Cook Them
What is your favorite way to eat cranberries? Do you prefer to eat them or drink juice?