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Organic Traditions Blog

The Surprising & Unique Health Benefits of Cranberries

by Alexandra Mamalider on Mar 24, 2021

You’ll often hear us touting the benefits of exotic superfruits like camu camu, our favourite source of vitamin C, or lucuma, a South American superfruit that can be used as a delicate sweetener. Today however, we’re going to focus on a superfruit that’s closer to home. It’s so close to home that it’s actually native to North America: the cranberry. 

What comes to mind when you think of cranberries? Do you hear someone suggesting you take down a gallon to try and cure your chronic UTI’s? Do your lips purse at the thought of them sneaking their way into your trail mix? Maybe you’re hearing Fleetwood Mac playing as you envision yourself coasting with a jug of cranberry juice in hand. If you’re already a fan of cranberries - perfect! If not - we’re here to convert you. Keep reading to find out why your newest superfruit obsession needs to be cranberries.

Cranberries are one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat. This powerhouse of a fruit contains an array of antioxidants, polyphenols, fibers and vitamins. Cranberries are actually higher in antioxidants than most other fruits and berries!

Here’s why we’re adding cranberries to our superfruit rotation.

Hello antioxidants!

They contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants found in any fruit! This means that cranberries are amazing for reducing oxidative stress within the body. We now know that inflammation and oxidative stress are often found at the root of illness and disease so eating a diet rich in a variety of antioxidants can help prevent this. Cranberries are a great source of vitamin c, anthocyanins, quercetin, benzoic acid, epicatechins and proanthocyanidins.

Anthocyanins: a class of antioxidants found in fruit like cranberries, acai berries and blueberries that help destroy free radicals in the body.

Quercetin: one of the most powerful phytonutrients, aids in reducing allergies, improving joint pain and reducing inflammation. You’ll find high concentrations of quercetin in our organic Apple Peel Powder!

Benzoic Acid: the main compound in cranberries that can reduce the risk of infection and kill off bad bacteria.

Epicatechins: you’ll also find this class of phytonutrients in green tea - they’re known for their ability to protect against heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease

 All of these antioxidants work together to help protect and defend our immune systems. What sets cranberries apart from the rest of the superfruit world is their Proanthocyanidins aka PACs content. 

What are PACs?

Proanthocyanidins aka PACs are part of the flavanol family, which are a class of polyphenols. Cranberries contain high levels of PACs which help support the body’s immune function and ward off illness and disease. You might be thinking, “don’t other fruits contain PACs?” They sure do, but cranberries are packed with A PACs. A PACs are special thanks to their unique anti-adhesion properties. This type of PAC helps prevent bacteria from sticking to cells within the body, helping to also prevent infection.

Say goodbye to UTI’s:

Most women, and some men, will experience UTI’s in their lives at one point or another, many even experience them chronically. UTI’s are caused by E. coli, a harmful bacteria, that attaches itself to the inner surface of the urinary tract or bladder. The PACs found in cranberries can prevent this adhesion from happening while offering a host of other benefits simultaneously. Rather than reaching for antibiotics, opt for cranberries, a natural solution without the side effects.

Who doesn’t love a healthy gut?

Studies have found that cranberries contain cleansing, anti-diarrheal, anti-septic and detoxifying diuretic properties. They can help the body eliminate toxins and buildup, including E. coli as mentioned earlier. Studies have also shown that cranberries can help to balance bacteria in the digestive tract. This is because they act similarly to probiotics - they create an environment where healthy gut flora can flourish. Their ability to help balance bacteria throughout the body by flushing out harmful bacteria and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria make cranberries a truly unique fruit. Issues relating to the digestive tract such as constipation and diarrhea can likely also be resolved with regular intake of cranberries.  

Think you’ve got to wait until Thanksgiving to get your cranberry on? Think again.

Our Daily Probiotic Cranberry Supreme is a blend of organic whole food cranberry fruit powder plus added beneficial probiotics. This powerful formula gets you 139mg of PACs, both soluble and insoluble, per teaspoon along with a host of other beneficial antioxidants, plant sterols, phospholipids, fiber and omega fatty acids. The ideal minimum amount of PACs you’ll want from your supplement would be 36mg per serving - good thinking you’re getting almost four times this amount in just one serving of our Daily Probiotic Cranberry Supreme!

Our wholefood cranberry fruit powder contains the skin, seeds, juice and pulp of the cranberry fruit. What this means is that you're getting the full benefits of the whole fruit, including the cranberry seeds - which are one of the most nutritious parts of the plant. Seeds are typically a byproduct of cranberry juice processing - by not including the seed you’re missing out not only on antioxidants and fiber but also essential amino acids! Cranberry seeds are the only plant based source of protein that provides all of the essential amino acids.

To complete this powerful blend we enhanced it with our favourite heat and shelf stable probiotics: Bacillus coagulans. Bacillus coagulans offers excellent survivability, stability, safety and efficacy and symbiotically with cranberries to promote optimal gastrointestinal health.  

If you’re a snacker...

Try adding our dried cranberries to your DIY trail mix or overnight oats! Our organic dried cranberries are neither sugar laden nor too tart to enjoy. Instead, we’ve first gently dried and then tumbled our cranberries in organic apple juice! What you’re left with are plump, juicy cranberries that naturally sweetened just enough to allow the naturally tart taste that they’re known for to shine. Our dried cranberries are delicious right out of the bag or added to your favourite snacks and recipes.

Try making these Cranberry Coconut Freezer Bars or these Cranberry Spice Balls!