Cranberries are a small red fruit with a tangy taste that originated in North America. It is found fresh, dried or frozen, but also in the form of juice and jellies. In Quebec, it is available year round, but it is generally harvested between September and November, which means it is often associated with winter and the holiday season. In terms of health, it is often used to prevent urinary tract infections. Let's learn more about the benefits ofcranberry.
The nutritional value of cranberries
Cranberries are small fruits rich in flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, compounds with antioxidant properties. It also contains fiber and vitamin C.
Cranberries and urinary tract infections
Natural, untreated cranberry juice contains proanthocyanidins, which preventEscherichia coli, the bacteria usually responsible for urinary tract infections, attach to the lining of the urinary tract.
A systematic review with meta-analysis published in 2017 evaluated the effect of cranberries on the risk of UTI recurrence in healthy women with a history of UTI. The studies compared the cranberry treatment to a placebo or a control. Seven randomized controlled trials involving 1498 participants at risk for UTI were included. The results of the meta-analysis show that cranberries reduce the risk of UTIs by 26%. Therefore, cranberry may have a beneficial effect in preventing the recurrence of UTIs in healthy women. In addition, more studies involving a larger number of participants are needed to confirm these results.
Cranberries and cardiovascular disease
In 2021, a systematic review with meta-analysis looked at the effects of long-term consumption of certain fruits, including berries, citrus fruits and cherries, on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Forty-five studies lasting a week or more and evaluating risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as blood pressure and blood lipids were included. The juices of several berries, including cranberry juice, significantly reduced systolic and diastolic pressure. However, in the subgroup analysis, these associations were only seen with cranberry juice and cherry juice. Therefore, these results suggest that cranberry juice may help improve blood pressure. However, more research is needed to learn more about the cardiovascular effects of cranberries.
Cranberries in the kitchen
Although its effectiveness in preventing urinary tract infections has not been confirmed, cranberries remain a small local fruit rich in valuable antioxidants that you would be wrong to deprive yourself. Here are some ideas for incorporating cranberries into your diet more often.
- As soon as you wake up
For breakfast, cranberries can be added to yogurt, oatmeal, muesli orgranola. It will bring a slightly tangy sweet touch.
- In muffins, breads orbiscuits
Cranberries can be added to muffins, breads or cookies to replace or accompanydried fruit or nuts.
- In sauce
At Christmas, cranberries are often made in a sauce to accompany the turkey. However, the rest of the year, this sauce can also be served with cheese or meat and even spread on bread, as a jam.
- In simmered dishes
Many casserole recipes combine meat and fruit, such as rabbit with prunes and pork with apples. Cranberries can also be used in this type of dish. For inspiration, know that it pairs particularly well with poultry, especially chicken, turkey and duck.
With these few recipe ideas for cooking cranberries, you can fully enjoy this small local fruit while filling up with vitamins and antioxidants. Cranberries are a delicious little fruit that combines health and indulgence!
- Fu, Z., Liska, D., Talan, D., & Chung, M. (2017). Cranberry Reduces the Risk of Urinary Tract Infection Recurrence in Otherwise Healthy Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.The Journal of nutrition,147(12), 22822288. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.117.254961
- Wang, Y., Gallegos, J. L., Haskell-Ramsay, C., & Lodge, J. K. (2021). Effects of chronic consumption of specific fruit (berries, citrus and cherries) on CVD risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.European journal of nutrition,60(2), 615639. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-020-02299-ww