The Cranberry Institute asked me to review some of their data and blog about it. As a huge fan of cranberries, I was happy to check it out and share it with you!
Are Dried Cranberries OK?
I love cranberries in all forms. I have used cranberry juice in salad dressing, smoothies, and marinades. I have used fresh cranberries to make a compote to add flavor and nutrients to foods from fish to asparagus to oatmeal. I love using dried cranberries for a sweet snack – a real fruit snack! I’ve topped fiber-rich cereal with dried cranberries and used dried cranberries as an ingredient in my homemade granola for yummy yogurt partfaits.
So yes, I think dried cranberries are fine. People ask because of the sugar, but they are so tart and naturally low in sugar that they honestly need sugar to help them taste more palatable. In my opinion, with dried cranberries, the sugar is added to help something good for you taste even better.
Many Reasons to Eat Cranberries
In addition to their tart and tangy taste, there are many reasons to love dried cranberries as a part of a healthy diet. Here are 10 reasons you should be incorporating dried cranberries into your balanced diet!
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, proanthocyanidin (PAC). The unusual structure of the PACs found in cranberries offer anti-adhesive properties not found in other commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.
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 be easily 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. This cranberry apple chutney would be especially great with a mild white fish like tilapia or grilled chicken breast.
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!
Want More Info and Recipes??
For more information on the history and health benefits of the crimson cranberry, visit the Cranberry Institute at http://www.cranberryinstitute.org/and for easy-to-follow recipes and cranberry facts, visit www.USCranberries.com.
Disclosure: I was compensated for my time in writing this blog post.