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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

The truth about cranberries

By Melissa Boncher, Hy-Vee Dietitian | Nov 16, 2017

There’s no doubt that cranberries have exceptional health benefits, but the benefits may be different from you what you think. With a growing body of research, here’s a breakdown of the latest findings on cranberries, along with tips for including more cranberries in your diet.

Cancer Prevention. If you’ve heard cranberries referred to as a superfood, it’s because they have a higher antioxidant capacity than strawberries, spinach, broccoli, grapes, apples, raspberries and cherries. Coupled with high amounts of anti-inflammatory nutrients, these powerful berries are strong contenders for the prevention of certain cancers, including breast, colon, brain, oral, ovarian, prostate and esophageal cancer.

Bone Health. One of the lesser known characteristics of cranberries is the nutrient composition that makes them good for your bones. In addition to antioxidants, cranberries contain vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin K — all of which support bone health.

Heart Health. Like other red fruits and vegetables, the phytochemicals that give cranberries a ruby color can help reduce blood pressure and lessen the risk of heart disease.

Cranberry Misconception. Cranberries have long been associated with preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) because of their high levels of proanthocyanidins (or PACs for short). PACs help keep bacteria off the walls of the urinary tract, thus preventing infection; however, researchers at Yale University recently led a yearlong study that showed daily cranberry capsule consumption did not prevent UTIs from occurring. While other studies have also suggested that cranberry capsules and juice should not be recommended for preventing or treating UTIs, few have been as large and definitive as the Yale study.


In the Kitchen

If anything, we should celebrate fresh cranberries, not just because they’re a low-calorie, high-fiber fruit packed with antioxidants, but because they add an incredible tang to sauces, baked goods and salads. Here’s how to shop, store and cook with this seasonal power berry.

In the store: Fresh cranberries are sold bagged in Hy-Vee produce departments from October through December. Look for firm berries with a smooth, shiny, dark red color.

Stock Up. When fresh cranberries go on sale, fill your cart. Generally, they last about four weeks in the fridge, but you can freeze unopened bags of cranberries for about a year. That means you can make fresh cranberry bread and muffins year-round.

Fun fact: Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America.



Cranberry Streusel Bread

Serves 16

A simple streusel topping is what sets this cranberry bread apart from the others.


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons chilled butter



2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup skim milk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups fresh, chopped cranberries


1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9x5-inch metal loaf pan; set aside. To make the streusel, in a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside.

2. For bread batter, in a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center of the flour mixture; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine egg, milk, oil, orange zest and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle streusel topping over batter. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight.

3. After cooling and storing bread overnight, mix glaze. For glaze, in a small bowl combine powdered sugar and orange juice. Spread glaze over bread.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 220 calories, 6g fat, 2g saturated fat, 120mg sodium, 38g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 23g sugar, 3g protein


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