9 Healthy Reasons You Should Eat More Cranberries

They're a Thanksgiving staple, but did you know this vibrant red fruit is good for you, too? Here's a look at some surprising cranberry benefits.

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Harvest fresh red cranberries in wicker basket
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Prevents Urinary Tract Infections

While cranberry juice won’t cure a urinary tract infection, it can prevent one in the first place. “Cranberries have been shown to reduce the incidence and recurrence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in men, women and children,” says Carlene Thomas, RDN, founder of OhCarlene. Staying hydrated helps too, so try sipping on a cool fruit-infused water.

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Girl picking berries in the woods.

Improves Digestion

Cranberries are high in natural fiber and contain about 4.6 grams per serving. This hit of fiber keeps your digestive tract moving along and prevents constipation. It also keeps you full, preventing afternoon sugar cravings and too much snacking.

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raw fresh cranberries in a plate on a wooden table.
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Reduces Blood Sugar

Cranberries get their signature tart flavor from their low sugar content. They’re one of the lowest sugar fruits and can even help control blood sugar. Try drinking a small cup of low-sugar cranberry juice every morning or tossing dried cranberries on a fresh arugula salad for lunch to get the benefits. You can also learn how to make your own cranberry sauce from scratch.

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Cranberries and cranberry juice in a glass.
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Improves Gut Health

If you’ve been downing a gallon of yogurt every day to get your probiotics, try sprinkling some cranberries over your parfait. Cranberries can improve the health of your gut by promoting healthy bacteria. “Gut health is a new area of exploration for cranberries, as emerging evidence shows that cranberries may affect the gut microbiota, as well as reduce intestinal inflammation,” says Thomas.

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Cranberry with leaves. Red background.
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Improves Heart Health

While a big Thanksgiving dinner might not be the healthiest option for your heart, the cranberries could make up for it. The health benefits of cranberries have been linked to improved cholesterol, lowered blood pressure and lowered inflammation.

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scattered on the table, a small pile of dried, useful red forest berries of cranberries
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Supports Glowing Skin

Cranberries are high in vitamins A and C, which promote collagen production to give us springy, glowing skin. “Vitamin C is an important nutrient that promotes healthy skin,” explains Thomas. “Eating fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C, like cranberries, helps promote healthy skin.” Love natural beauty treatments? Whip up this avocado face mask!

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Cranberry with leaf in bowl on blue wooden background
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Reduces Cholesterol

Cranberries are one of the foods that can lower cholesterol naturally. Research has found a link between eating cranberries and lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol. Sugary cranberry juice could raise cholesterol though, so opt for a fresh cranberry salad instead.

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fresh and delicious cranberries - fruits and vegetables

Prevents Gum Disease

Snack on cranberries for a healthier mouth. Cranberries have antimicrobial effects and can reduce the number of bacteria on your gums and teeth. They also help to prevent inflammation, keeping gums clean and healthy. To get these cranberry benefits, skip sugary juices and have your cranberries with healthy grains and fruits.

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Cranberries in wooden bowl on wooden background.
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Strengthens Your Immune System

Feel a sore throat coming on? Pass on the orange juice and reach for cranberries instead. Their high vitamin C level can keep germs at bay. Their antioxidants can also keep you healthy. “Cranberry compounds help protect the body from destructive free radicals,” says Thomas.

Carrie Madormo, RN
Carrie is a health writer and nurse who specializes in healthy eating and wellness through food. With a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, she strives to translate the latest health and nutrition research into interesting, actionable articles. During her six years at Taste of Home, Carrie has answered hundreds of reader questions about health and nutrition, such as if pomegranate seeds are safe to eat, why pregnant women crave pickles and how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso. Carrie is also a former health coach and food blogger.