Go Crazy For Cranberries and Cranberry Seed Oil!

By: Callie Pillsbury on Aug 16, 2017

Cranberries are not just a fruit for the holidays, but they are a superfood that should be encouraged to be consumed all year around! Try to eat more cranberries by putting them in your muffins, oatmeal, or even put cranberry seed oil on your salad!

CRANBERRIES

History

For many years, cranberries bring memories of Thanksgiving meals and turkey. Historically, Native Americans used the pigment from cranberries to dye clothing, and their antioxidant properties to treat battle wounds. The tale is that when the Europeans traveled to North America, they saw a fruit with a flower, petal, and stem that looked similar to a crane. So, they called the unusual looking fruit a “craneberry” which today turned into the word, cranberry. Cranberry harvest is unique because they are harvested from vines in flooded water. The cranberry fruit that is harvested is ruby red and has a very tart flavor. The more popular forms of cranberries that are consumed include cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, and cranberry flavored drinks (1).

cranberry-seed-oil-photo.jpgNutrition

In the 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines, cranberries were recognized as a nutrient dense food. Some people even consider it a superfruit, which means it is packed with nutrients.

Antioxidants

Cranberries are one of the few fruits that has a high antioxidant capacity. Cranberries are high in phytochemicals such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. These phytochemicals fight free radicals in the body to prevent oxidation. Another phytochemical found in cranberries are anthocyanins. Anyhocyanins contributed to the deep red color of cranberries. There are reports that anythocyanins prevent cholesterol from oxidation. These antioxidant functions of cranberries also help improve immunity.

Infection

Cranberries have been thought to prevent bladder and kidney infections by inhibiting bacteria from adhering to the tissue. The proanthocyanins are the compounds responsible for inhibiting bacteria and by the same mechanism, they inhibit the development of plaque on teeth.

Heart disease

Cranberries have been researched to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because of the high that polyphenols which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Cranberries are encouraged a source of antioxidants in a heart healthy diet (2).

Nutrient dense

One cup of cranberries is only 51 calories and is packed with nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. With 13.3 mg of vitamin C in 1 cup of cranberries, the ancient sailors used to eat cranberries to help prevent scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency. 

CRANBERRY SEED OIL

Normally, cranberry seeds are discarded from the berry. The seeds of cranberries can be converted into oil through the process of cold pressing. The color of cranberry seed oil is deep orange, red, or even green with a fruity aroma.

Healthy Fats

Cranberry seed oil has high levels of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The unique ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids in cranberry seed oil is 1:1. The essential omega 3 fatty acids decrease LDL cholesterol and triglycerides which in turn is healthy for the heart (3). The fat content of cranberry seed oil is 20-25% MUFA, 60-75% PUFA and 5-9% saturated fat.

Vitamin E

Tocotrienols and tocopherol, forms of vitamin E, are found in cranberry seed oil. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that act as an antioxidant to protect the skin from sun damage and inflammation.

Sterols

Phytosterols, also called plant sterols or stanols, battle against cholesterol in the body for absorption, thus cholesterol absorption in the body is lower when phytoserols are present.

Antioxidants

Cranberry seed oil is one of the few oils that is rich in antioxidants.

Infection

Like the cranberry fruit, cranberry seed oil may also play a role in preventing or treatment of bladder and kidney infections.

Skin health

Cranberry seed oil is well known by skin care professionals because it has the unique ability to efficiently absorb into the skin. This is because of the fatty acid composition of 1:1.

Cranberry Seed Oil and Spray Drying

Cranberry seed oil can be spray dried to be turned into a powder and can be used in dietary supplements.


References

1. The Cranberry Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2017, from
http://www.cranberryinstitute.org/about_cran/_aboutcranberries.html

2. Basu, A., Rhone, M., & Lyons, T. J. (2010). Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(3), 168–177. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00273.x

3. “Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and cardiovascular disease risk factors”. McKay DL, Blumberg JB. Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Massachussetts 02111, USA. Nutr Rev. 2007 Nov. Accessed November 20th 2013.