Antioxidant Tuesdays-Cranberries!

6 Dec



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.

So far we have talked about kidney beans, blueberries and pinto beans.

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
Proanthocyanidins epicatechins
Anthocyanins cyanidins, malvidins, and peonidins
Flavonoids quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol
Triterpenoids ursolic acid




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)

Recent Scandal

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

Of course…cranberry sauce from Simply Recipes

Quinoa with Toasted Almonds and Cranberries from Saavy Vegetarian

Cranberry Apple Tart from Daily Healthy Recipes

Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing from Serious Eats

Cranberry Pecan Scones from Prevention


What is your favorite way to eat cranberries?  Do you prefer to eat them or drink juice?



7 Responses to “Antioxidant Tuesdays-Cranberries!”

  1. kathleen @ the daily crumb December 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    very interesting! especially given the fact that i am obsessed with cranberries these days… love when baked goods have health benefits 🙂


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