The answer is yes and no, depending on what you eat.
Can Cranberries be Bad for your Health?
*** Short answer: Fresh ones are good for you, dried cranberries are generally not.
Let’s look at how awesome cranberries are, and how incredibly packed with nutrition they (fresh) are too:
Cranberries contain an abundant amount of nutrients, but the most prominent ones are:
Vitamin C – A serving of fresh cranberries will provide about 25% of your DV. And we all know that this vitamin is linked with a healthy immune system, which is why it’s likely the most popular vitamin and vitamin supplement out there and why having enough is important, especially in our diet.
It also helps with your body’s collagen production, which is required to create and maintain healthy teeth, gums, joints, skin, bones, blood vessels, etc. It also really helps with wound healing and as treatments for other ailments which is one of the uses the Native Americans had for this berry hundreds of years ago.
Manganese – A serving of raw cranberries contains an huge 20% of your DV for this mineral. Manganese (not magnesium) is an important part of several enzymes in your body and is involved with many other functions to keep your cells working properly. One of the body’s most important antioxidant enzymes that takes care of your cells, exists because of manganese.
Cranberries are also a rich source of flavonoids. Flavonoids are phytochemicals that are found in plant foods that have all sorts of health benefits. They have been linked to increased brain health, reduced inflammation and and too many more to list here. Berries (including cranberries) are said to especially high in flavonoids in general.
Cranberries are also a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to stop the ‘bad’ free radicals in our bodies from damaging our healthy cells. So we need these substances to help us achieve optimal health, and cranberries happen to be a good source.
So cranberries in their fresh, raw form are awesome for your health.
Those other kind of Cranberries however …
Most people when they think about eating cranberries usually refer to the dried form. Fresh, unsweetened cranberries that you find at your local grocery store are very sour which is why most of the cranberry harvest usually goes to juices, sauces or other products like dried cranberries.
Most people LOVE these as they are a bit like raisins and have a much sweeter taste to them. The reason they are sweeter is because dried cranberries generally have lots of added sugar when they are prepared.
Too much sugar as we all know by now is not a good thing and responsible for diabetes, writers block, divorce, musicals and the threat of World War III. So if you want to avoid all of these things I’d stay away from dried cranberries if I were you.
So cranberries in their dried and processed form are not so good for your health, but fun to eat on a park bench while you people watch, or in a movie theater where a sweet taste is welcome after finishing that bucketful of salty popcorn.
If you want to eat raw cranberries for their nutritional benefit and actually enjoy them, you’ll have to be creative. Check out my post on drinking pure cranberry juice, and on this smoothie recipe.
Hope this helps.