Wondering if dried cranberries are good for you?
The short answer is yes. The long answer involves a focus on moderation and an overall look at your sugar intake.
Let’s talk about a few of the best benefits of dried cranberries, then discuss a few side effects and precautions you should take.
Dried Cranberries & Calories
Wondering how much dried cranberries will set you back on your daily calorie count? A serving of 1/3 cup contains 123 calories.
Bear in mind this is the nutrition information for dried sweetened cranberries. You would have fewer calories with unsweetened cranberries although most of the cranberries that you purchase in store have some type of sweetener used.
Be sure to read labels carefully if sugar and calories are a concern.
Nutritional Content of Cranberries
Surprisingly enough, cranberries pack a lot of nutrients in their tiny frames. Check it out:
Cranberries are a good source of fiber. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. In fact, raw cranberries have 4.6 grams of fiber in a single cup so the dried cranberries are also a rich source.
Fiber helps to improve digestive health and may provide additional health benefits as well.
Cranberries are very high in antioxidants – compounds that reduce free radicals and can help prevent chronic diseases. More specifically, cranberries contain the antioxidant compounds such as quercetin, myricetin, peonidin, ursolic acid, and A-type proanthocyanidins.
As a type of bioactive plant compound, cranberries are a rich source of polyphenols. While we don’t know exactly all of the ways they work, diets rich in polyphenols have multiple health benefits and cranberries are a good source.
This is a type of bioactive plant compound and may also be known as tannins. One of the benefits of this particular compound is that it can be effective against UTIs so it’s great for urinary health.
Hence why your mom always told you to drink cranberry juice when you had a bladder infection…
Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that is found in cranberries. It plays a role in the health of skin and hair but is also essential for overall good health. Cranberries are a good source of this essential nutrient.
Essential amino acids
Although cranberries are not very high in amino acids, they do contain a small amount of protein per serving. They may help to contribute to your essential protein intake when included as a part of a healthy diet.
The Benefits of Eating Dried Cranberries
1. Supports Healthy Urinary Tract
When you think of cranberries, often the first thing that comes to mind is preventing urinary tract infections. This is due to the fact that cranberries are a rich source of proanthocyanidins.
These are antioxidants which work to prevent bacteria from sticking to the wall of the urinary tract and helps to reduce the risk of infection.
However, you should be aware that eating cranberries is not going to be an effective treatment. It’s best to consume cranberries in addition to drinking plenty of water and seeing your doctor if you do get a UTI.
2. Benefits the Skin
Surprisingly enough, dried craberries benefit the skin as well! There are many aspects of cranberries that aid in their skin-boosting power. The vitamins A and C play an essential role in contributing to collagen production so your skin stays tight over time. Cranberries antioxidant compounds also help to reduce wrinkle formation by fighting free radicals and may help keep your skin healthier over time.
3. Supports Healthy Digestion
When it comes to digestive health, cranberries are a powerhouse. When your digestion is out of sync, it can lead to a number of significant health problems. The antioxidant compounds in cranberries also help to prevent bad bacteria from colonizing in your gut.
They also are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. This allows them to contribute to healthy gut function when consumed on a regular basis.
4. Lowers Inflammation
Many foods claim to lower inflammation but none of them do it much better than cranberries. Their high antioxidant compounds once again come to the rescue.
These bioactive compounds help prevent cell damage and can reduce inflammation over time.
Many fruits and vegetables also contribute to reducing inflammation so it’s a good idea to consume a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables for the best results.
5. Helps Combat Free Radical Damage
Free radicals are harmful compounds that can cause damage to your body over time. You may have free radical compounds from outside sources but your body makes them as well.
Eating a diet that’s rich in compounds which neutralize free radicals will reduce the damage that they promote. Cranberries do this well which is why it’s an easy choice to include them.
6. Boosts Your Immune System
When cold and flu season come around, you’re looking for anything that will help your immune system be a little more robust. When it comes to foods that promote good immune health, some studies have found that people who consumed cranberries had fewer symptoms if they did end up catching a cold.
While you can’t reduce your risk entirely, you’re more likely to have a less severe cold if you do catch something.
7. Reduces Risk of Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are painful and can occur based on a number of factors. However, you might not realize it but cranberries can actually help to reduce your risk of developing them.
High in nutrients and antioxidants, this superfood may help to lower your risk as well as ease symptoms after an ulcer has already developed.
If you’ve ever had a stomach ulcer before, then adding cranberries to your diet may be a simple way to prevent it from happening again.
8. Encourages a Healthy Heart
Finally, we all want to have a healthy heart but this is often easier said than done. A study done looked at why these berries were effective at combatting heart disease and high blood pressure.
It’s likely due to their anti-inflammatory profile. Inflammation can lead to developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Although you should strive to follow a heart healthy diet in general, including cranberries may also help to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Are Dried Cranberries Good for Weight Loss?
In general, a serving of dried cranberries is low in calories and also practically fat-free. This makes them a good choice when trying to lose weight since they can satisfy your sweet tooth without adding many calories to your diet.
When asking a dietitian about cranberries and weight loss, they caution moderation. Since dried cranberries do contain added sugar, this could counteract your weight loss efforts. If your goal is to lose weight, you may want to look for dried cranberries that don’t have any added sugar.
In addition to enjoying them in moderation, following a reduced calorie diet overall will help you lose weight.
Are Dried Cranberries High in Sugar?
If you look at the sugar content in fresh cranberries, you’ll notice that it’s extremely low. In every cup, there is only four grams of sugar.
This is much less than similar berries such as raspberries and strawberries. However, you may notice that the sugar content in dried cranberries is much higher.
The reason this is the case is because dried fruit is more concentrated.
However, most manufacturers of dried fruit add sugar to counteract the tartness of this berry. The sugar content of dried cranberries is similar to raisins.
You can control how much sugar is in them by drying cranberries yourself at home.
Possible Side Effects of Dried Cranberries
Although it’s safe to enjoy cranberries, you may have some undesirable side effects if you overindulge. The most common side effects that you may experience is stomach upset or diarrhea.
The high fiber content may cause some digestive concerns although this is not likely when you limit your intake. In some rare cases, they can increase the risk of developing kidney stones although this is also only common when eating a huge amount of them daily.
Ideas & Ways to Enjoy Dried Cranberries Without Overindulging
Although we’ve talked about the many dried cranberry benefits, moderation is still important. Dried cranberries are a more concentrated form of the fresh fruit so it’s easy to have too many.
In general, a half cup a day is about the most that you should have.
To enjoy them without having too many, try to add them to foods naturally. Here are 13 recipes using dried cranberries you could try! Those are my personal favorites. They pack a LOT of flavor in a small amount so you can use them in limited quantities.
Add a few to your oatmeal or top your bagel with cranberries. Add a small amount to salads for a burst of flavor.
Additionally, you can also enjoy them in baked goods. Most breads, muffins, and other baked goods will get a good burst of flavor with just a handful of dried cranberries.
If you buy in bulk like I do, be sure to store cranberries properly. Here’s where I get mine in case you need a good source:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dried cranberries good for dogs?
Unlike other dried fruits, cranberries are safe for dogs to eat. However, your dog may not like their tart taste.
Are dried cranberries keto?
Since cranberries contain a moderate amount of carbohydrates, they are not usually included on a keto diet
What is healthier raisins or dried cranberries?
Although there is no clear winner, raisins are slightly lower in calories and sugar while being a higher source of protein and potassium. However, for people who don’t like raisins, cranberries still offer significant nutrients.
I’m a foodie that’s slightly obsessed with drying fruits, veggies, beans, and more – especially from my own garden! It started as a hobby but became a “must” when my family fell on hard times, and my dried food stash sustained us. Now I’m always experimenting with different techniques and recipes and sharing them here!