Cranberries: Nature’s Nutrient-packed Superfood

It is not every day that you get to go wading in a giant cranberry bog! While attending the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, I got this unique opportunity, which fueled my recent obsession with everything cranberry. I was interested in learning more about why cranberries are considered a “superfood” and how to incorporate them into my regular meals.

A superfood is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Cranberries are a great source of vitamin C and fiber while only containing 45 calories per cup. They also contain a large number of disease-fighting antioxidants which have been found to help reduce risk of urinary tract infections, heart disease, and stomach cancer.

Cranberries have a sharp and sour taste so they are not typically eaten raw. Still, some enjoy this bold flavor and pop the little berries like candy! The most common form of cranberry consumption is cranberry juice. 1 cup of pure cranberry juice contains only 9g of sugar. However, most cranberry juices on the shelves contain other blends of fruit juice and added sugars. These can contain up to 35g of sugar! Though still full of vitamins and antioxidants, fruit juices will not contain fiber which helps slow the digestion of the naturally occurring sugar. To find a pure cranberry juice, simply ensure that the ingredients contain only water and cranberry juice.

Fresh cranberries may be tart but make the perfect sauces and marinades that pair great with chicken and pork dishes. Add fresh cranberries to your favorite dessert for extra nutrients and flavor. Dried cranberries can be added to trail mixes for a quick, on-the-go snack. The options are endless!

Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy cranberries!

Cranberry Cilantro Salsa

Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini

Quinoa Salad with Pistachios & Cranberries

Roasted Cranberry, Wild Rice, and Kale Salad

Cranberry & Goat Cheese Stuffed Pears

Post created by Missouri State Dietetic Intern Jessica Erbst