What is cranberry?
Cranberry, also known as (Vaccinium macrocarpon), is a small, red, round fruit with a sour taste. They are highly nutritious and widely consumed worldwide. These superfoods are eaten raw and also in the form of various products like cranberry sauce, juice, dried cranberries, and extracts in powder, capsules and tablets form. Cranberries are known for their high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Cranberry: Benefits & Uses
Here are a few health benefits of cranberries.
- Nutrient-dense: Cranberries fruit is a powerhouse of nutrition. They are rich in vitamin C, dietary fibre, vitamin K, E, and manganese.
- Rich in antioxidants: Cranberries are an excellent source of potent antioxidants like quercetin, peonidin, ursolic acid, and myricetin. These compounds provide rich red colour to cranberry fruit and help reduce oxidative stress in the body.
- Anti-inflammatory: Cranberry is rich in proanthocyanidins, flavonols, and anthocyanidins, known for their anti-inflammatory impact. Studies support that these compounds are beneficial against heart diseases and improve cognition.
- May prevent UTI: Cranberries have been found helpful in preventing Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). E. coli is the primary bacteria responsible for urinary infections. Phytonutrients like proanthocyanidins present in cranberries prevent this bacteria from getting attached to the lining of the urinary tract. Hence, cranberry juice or supplements may be a promising remedy for treating and preventing UTIs.
Cranberry: Nutritional Information
Here are the nutrition facts of cranberries per 100 g given by USDA.
Calories: 46 kcal
Protein: 0.46 g
Carbohydrate: 12 g
Fat: 0.13 g
Dietary Fibre: 3.6 g
Calcium: 8 mg
Magnesium: 6 mg
Phosphorus: 11 mg
Potassium: 80 mg
Vitamin C: 14 mg
Beta-carotene: 38 mg
Choline: 5.5 mg
How to choose the right cranberry extract?
Cranberry extracts are widely available in the market in powder, tablets, juice, or capsule form. Here are a few tips for selecting the most suitable one.
- One can choose the form as per the ease of consumption. People not comfortable with swallowing capsules or tablets can consider powder or juice.
- The product should have a high standardized percentage of the active ingredient of cranberry - proanthocyanidins.
- Check the serving size and recommended dosage.
- The product should be lab-tested and FSSAI-approved.
- It should be free from unwanted additives or fillers.
- People on medications and pregnant and lactating women must consult their doctor before taking cranberry tablets or any other supplemental form.
How to use cranberry extract?
- One can take cranberry tablets or capsules with water, juice or per the usage instructions mentioned on the product label. It is advisable not to exceed the dosage.
- Cranberry powder can be added to shakes, smoothies, yogurt or baked goods.
Where to buy cranberry extract?
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the best time to take cranberry?
One can take cranberry extract at any time of the day, preferably with meals, to prevent any stomach discomfort. People on medications should consult their doctor for the best time to take cranberry.
2. What is the ideal dosage of cranberry extract?
There is recommended dosage of cranberry as per ICMR. However, studies support that it may vary between 500-1500 mg daily.
3. Are there any cranberry side effects?
Cranberry is usually considered safe to use. However, it may cause some side effects when taken in large doses like -
- Abdominal distress
- Kidney stones
- Allergic reactions
- Increased risk of bleeding in people taking blood thinning medications