Cranberries are a criminally underrated member of the berry family.
Full of antioxidants and fibre, cranberries have potent health benefits such as aiding in digestion and managing blood sugar.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should load up on cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving. It’s actually raw cranberries that are the most nutritious variant of the fruit; dry cranberries are okay, but are high in sugar like cranberry sauce is.
“Many of the cranberries we eat these days are sweetened and dried, and those are slightly different than eating an actual raw cranberry, which are far more tart,” says Jennifer Sygo, a registered dietitian and sports nutritionist.
As mentioned, cranberries are fantastic as they’re very low in sugar compared to others in the fruit family, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar. In fact, they’re highly efficient at controlling blood sugar, too.
“There is some research out there suggesting that when a person consumes cranberries as part of a fatty meal — like a Thanksgiving meal — that they can actually help reduce the impact of that meal on blood sugar,” Sygo said.
“We don’t want big, big spikes in blood sugar. That’s hard on our bodies — especially if you have diabetes.”
Cranberries promote digestive health, too. They’re tiny, but they’re mighty in fibre:
“A cup of cranberries provides five grams of dietary fibre,” Sygo said.
Your digestive track will thank you (and your toilet will hate you) due to the regular bowel movements cranberries push. Fibre also helps with weight management, helping you feel satiated for longer which curbs overeating.
Finally, cranberries are extremely low in calories – one cup has just 50 calories, Sygo says. In comparison, an average-sized banana has 110 calories, and a cup of blueberries has about 80 calories.
And because of the rich in nutrients and low in calories combo, they’re excellent from a weight-loss perspective.
“Cranberries [are] among the lowest calories of any fruit that’s out there,” Sygo explained. This means they’re a great addition to cooking and baking recipes, and a healthy topping for yogurt or granola.
“That allows the whole system to be more younger and more vibrant.”
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