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Cranberries' Antioxidant Level Tops List in USDA Report
Date:1/30/2008

deep-colored pigments - such as the deep red color of cranberries - antioxidants are important components in plants that are showing potential to protect the body from harmful oxidants known as "free radicals," which are caused by daily stresses like cigarette smoke, pollutants, unhealthy foods and environmental toxins.(1) The cell damage caused by free radicals weakens the immune system and is linked to several diseases. Antioxidants reduce the effect of these free radical oxidants by binding with them and decreasing their destructive power and repairing damage. While more research is needed on the effects of antioxidants on health, preliminary studies suggest they may work by helping to maintain healthy cells, tissues and arteries.

There are different types of antioxidants. Known for their antioxidant activity, flavonoids make up the largest subgroup of phytonutrients, which are beneficial compounds found in plant-based foods, including cranberries. Specifically, cranberries contain a subclass of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which are known for their role as antioxidants. Additionally, cranberries contain a subclass called proanthocyanidins, known for helping to inhibit E.coli - the bacteria responsible for 80-90 percent of urinary tract infections - and helping to maintain a healthy urinary tract.(2-6) Ongoing research continues to reveal more about the unique flavonoid contributions of cranberries and flavonoids' potential effects on health.

This is exciting news for those who want great taste and healthy rewards from their food choices. With so many reasons to love cranberries, it's just a matter of choosing which of their bright red forms to enjoy; choose from sweetened or unsweetened cranberry juice, sweetened dried cranberries, cranberry sauce and frozen berries. Try starting your day with cranberry juice, a cran-smoothie, oatmeal topped with dried cranberries or a cranberry oatmeal muffin. Later in the day, enjoy sweetened dried cranbe
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SOURCE Cranberry Marketing Committee
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