The Cranberry Craze


Their color is gorgeous. Their taste is explosive. Cranberries are vibrant, tangy berries acting like tiny superheroes ready to keep your body in tip-top shape.


Cranberries Give Your Body a Boost. Whether used as a topping on yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal, or starting your morning with a glass of juice, cranberries provide a punch of vitamins, particularly vitamins C and E. Serving as powerful antioxidants, these vitamins fight free radicals that damage cells and DNA in the body as we age. Their vitamin impact doesn’t stop there and can be felt throughout your body. 


Building Blocks. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, heal wounds and infections, and is necessary in the production of collagen, the primary building block of your body’s skin, muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. And not to be outdone, cranberries contain Vitamin E which is essential for the health of your skin and blood vessels. One 8 oz serving of pure cranberry juice provides 26% of your daily allowance of Vitamin C and 20% of your daily allowance of Vitamin E.  


Heart Health. Inflammation can damage blood vessels over time, including the arteries of your heart. Damaged arteries attract plaque, causing blockages. Cranberries contain phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties that can delay the process and offer protection against heart disease. 


Urinary Tract Health. The unique combination of polyphenols found in cranberries have properties that can help prevent certain bacteria from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract. If bacteria can’t attach, grow, and spread, an infection is less likely to develop.


Gut Health. The antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory substances in cranberries help maintain a soothing balance of good bacteria in your gut, reducing inflammation, bloating, gas, or constipation. By preventing the growth of bad bacteria, cranberries may even aid in the prevention of stomach ulcers. They are also high in fiber, and great for moving things along in the digestive tract. 


But Wait, There’s More! Cranberries can also improve hair loss, prevent tooth decay, and support liver health. So, move over OJ. Grab a glass of cranberry juice instead.


Purchasing Cranberry Juice. Don’t be fooled by all those beautiful red bottles. Cranberry juice cocktails are loaded with added sugars and contain very little of the actual fruit. Look a little harder and grab pure, 100% cranberry juice with zero added sugars. If pure cranberry juice is too tart for you, dilute it with a little water. 


Make Your Own. Consider making homemade unsweetened cranberry juice to get the most health benefits. Buy a few bags and store them in the freezer. Take a chance and try it:


  1. Combine 2–3 cups of frozen or fresh cranberries in a large pot with 8–10 cups of water.
  2. Cook on low-medium heat until cranberries are softened, about 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Use a strainer to separate the juice and discard the cranberry pieces.
  5. Add honey to sweeten the juice as desired to taste.
  6. Serve juice hot or cold.


Shout Out to Wisconsin. Cranberries are native to the US and Canada with the US being the world’s largest producer, and Wisconsin leading the nation. The expected Wisconsin crop for 2023 was 4.97 million barrels. Cranberries grow in marshes and are often water-harvested. When the berries are ripe, they float on the water surface, exposing them to sunlight, which may increase their nutritional value.  


Looking for an afternoon adventure? Visit 4 Stops on the WI Cranberry Trail | Travel Wisconsin 


Why keep cranberries confined to Thanksgiving and Christmas? Give your body a kick-start in 2024 and join the cranberry craze. 


Heidi Kutz 

Education Specialist, ViaroHealth 

For questions or comments, contact 

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333 Front St. N
La Crosse, WI 54601
(608) 668-2111

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