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Cranberry Power: This American Native Fruit Doesn't Have to be Exotic to be Super
Date:6/20/2008

WAREHAM, Mass., June 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While most food trends come and go, the cranberry continues to exert its heralded "superfood" status over the whispers of "miracle" berries from deep within the Amazon and the temporary appearances of exotic fruit purees in grocery freezers. When it comes to time-honored good taste, versatility and good nutrition, look no further than cranberries!

The cranberry is a grocery store mainstay - not a fad fruit - with its popularity dating back to the days of the Pilgrims who coveted the fruit for its many virtues. This sweet-tart berry comes in many convenient forms; its versatility is hard to beat. Find them in the snack aisle, the juice aisle, the canned goods aisle and - from September through December - in the fresh produce section. With so many options available, it's easy to include this tasty fruit as part of a healthy diet.

It's not a surprise that cranberries have been popular for as long as they have. They're delicious and - because they come in so many forms - they're extremely versatile. "Whether you're using cranberry juice, cranberry sauce or dried cranberries, you can add the color and taste of cranberries to your meals and snacks throughout the day," said Registered Dietitian Lisa Dorfman. "Plus, this powerful fruit helps meet the USDA's recommendation for eating two to four servings of fruit per day."

Following are a few of the powerful attributes cranberries have to offer:

The Power of Cranberries

-- Antioxidants: Often identified in food by their deep-colored pigment -

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 may weaken the immune

system, among other things.(1) According the latest Agricultural

Research Service Report from the USDA, cranberries have more

antioxidants than 19 other commonly eaten fruits, with 9584 ORAC units

per 100 grams of fresh fruit. And, with 2186 ORAC units, one cup of 100

percent cranberry juice blend (a combination of 100 percent cranberry

juice with other fruit juices without added sugar) has more naturally

occurring antioxidants than one cup of orange juice (1800 ORAC units)

and apple juice (1011 ORAC units).(2)

-- Urinary Tract Health: Cranberries have a wide array of antioxidants, but

one kind that is unique to cranberries is proanthocyanidins. This type

of flavonoid antioxidant keeps certain bacteria from adhering to the

walls of your bladder, helping you maintain a healthy urinary

tract.(3-4) In fact, research suggests daily consumption of cranberry

juice cocktail can help maintain urinary tract health.(5)

-- Heart Health: In addition to proanthocyanidins, cranberries also contain

another type of flavonoid antioxidant - anthocyanins.(6) While more

research is needed on the effects of antioxidants on health, preliminary

studies suggest flavonoid antioxidants may work by helping to maintain

healthy cells, tissues and arteries, which means helping to maintain a

healthy heart. And, fruits and vegetables are important for maintaining

good health and reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases, including

heart disease.

Ways to Enjoy Cranberries This Summer

Cranberries are a cholesterol-free, fat-free and low-sodium food. This powerful berry, in all its forms, can be used in many easy, tasty ways to fulfill the daily recommendations for fruit intake this summer:

-- Cool off with cranberry juice. Look in the juice aisle of the

supermarket for different flavors and "lite" versions of

cranberry juice. Try combining cranberry juice with iced tea or

lemonade to add a little something extra to these traditional summer

beverages.

-- Give other beverages a shot of color, flavor and antioxidants by

substituting regular ice cubes for frozen cranberry cubes - just pour

cranberry juice in ice cube trays and freeze. Create a fun frozen drink

to enjoy poolside by adding these cranberry cubes to a margarita mix.

-- Mix up a refreshing summer smoothie using cranberry juice, low-fat

yogurt, a banana and your favorite frozen fruits, such as frozen fresh

cranberries or mangoes. Sweeten with honey to taste.

-- Make a zesty, tangy cranberry salsa by mixing up whole berry cranberry

sauce, tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, cilantro leaves, garlic, red

pepper and lime juice. Serve it on top of a burger or with tortilla

chips.

-- Simmer cranberry sauce with honey to make a light and simple glaze for

grilled salmon, chicken or pork. Serve with dried cranberry-studded

cous cous or rice pilaf.

-- Sprinkle dried sweetened cranberries over almost any salad or mix them

into a chicken or tuna salad recipe.

For cranberry recipes and more information, visit http://www.uscranberries.com.

1) Urquiaga I, Leighton F. Plant Polyphenol Antioxidants and Oxidative Stress. Presented at the conference, "Biology and Pathology of Free Radicals: Plant and Wine Polyphenol Antioxidants" held July 29-30, 1999, at the Catholic University, Santiago, Chile, (PUC-PBMEC99).

2) USDA Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods - 2007. http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=15866.

3) Avorn J., Monane M., Gurwitz JH., Glynn RJ, Choodnovskiy L., Lipsitz LA. Reduction of bacteriuria and pyuria after ingestion of cranberry juice. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1994: 271:751-754.

4) Howell AB, Reed JD, Krueger CG, Winterbottom R, Cunningham DG, Leahy M. A-Type cranberry proanthocyanidins and uropathogenic bacterial anti-adhesion activity. Photochemistry 2005: 66:2281-2291.

5) Jepson R, Craig J. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD001321.

6) USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods, Release 2.1 (2007) http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/Flav/Flav02-1.pdf


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SOURCE Cranberry Marketing Committee
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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