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  • Writer's pictureErin Stefanacci

Functional Foods: Cranberries

By Christine “Cricket” Giles, M.S., B.S., Certified Nutrition Consultant & Certified Health & Wellness Coach

Cranberries are one of the few fruits that are native to North America. They do not travel from far foreign lands to our supermarkets. Cranberries are antioxidant powerhouses in their whole, natural form and can be consumed year-round.

Nutrient Content of Cranberries:

Cranberries are probably most known for their ability to help with UTI’s.  However, aside from helping females with UTIs, cranberries have other great benefits as well.  Cranberries are beneficial for cardiovascular health, Alzheimer’s disease, are anti-inflammatory, have high amounts of antioxidants, and low amounts of sugar in raw form, and can help with the prevention of cancer.   For specific benefits of the nutrient content of cranberries, see below:  

Food For Thought 

Cranberries, most of the time, are sold in stores processed and full of sugar.  This fruit is typically tart and not palatable to eat without all the added sugar.  However, there are some ways we can eat this fruit without the sugar and reap the benefits of the fruit.  Try and choose all-natural, whole cranberries.  They are in season during the fall months and can usually be found fresh in grocery stores until mid-December.  Even though the season is short, they are available all year round in the frozen section.  They make delicious additions to smoothies during the hotter months!  Try buying organic when you can due to high pesticide residue on these small berries.  When looking at cranberry juice, try choosing all-natural, no sugar added juice.  My favorite brands are Lakewood Organic or Santa Cruz Organic. See the recipe below for a new holiday recipe to bring to your next family gathering!   

Holiday Cranberry Sauce:


  • 2C fresh or frozen cranberries

  • 1 ripe pear, finely chopped

  • 1/2C pure maple syrup

  • 1 pinch salt

  • **Optional add-ins (for additional holiday flavors, choose one):

  • Orange zest

  • 1-2tsp Cinnamon

  • 1-2 rosemary sprigs


  • Add cranberries, pear, and maple syrup into a pot

  • Bring to a low boil on high heat

  • Reduce to medium heat

  • Simmer uncovered for 10-20 minutes until thickened

  • Enjoy!

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