A handful of health or a candy full of sugar?

Dried cranberries can be very healthy foods, and can also be harmful depending on how much sugar is added and how much they are consumed. However, although their consumption is controversial, their popularity is growing in the cosmetics industry. Here is the whole truth about how healthy dried cranberries are, how best to eat them and why they are becoming increasingly popular in the cosmetics industry.

Although dried fruit sounds healthy, dried cranberries have a nutritional profile that more belongs to the category of alternative sweets, which means that very little should be consumed. One of the main reasons is that in commercial production they add large amounts of sugar. If you buy dried cranberries in the store, it is recommended that you eat them in smaller quantities, as a treat, but if you dry them yourself, that is another story.

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How do cranberries dry?

Dried cranberries are formed partially by dehydration of fresh cranberries, that is, they are fresh cranberries from which water has been extracted. Dried grapes are made in a similar way. However, unlike grapes, cranberries are not a sweet fruit and larger amounts of sugar are added during the production of dried cranberries.

Cranberries are dried in different ways. It can be dried in the sun, hot air, freezing process, using vacuum and various other high-tech drying techniques. Each method gives different results in retaining the amount of nutrients in cranberries. It is considered that by drying in the air, they retain the smallest part of the nutrients in relation to other methods.

Dried cranberries: A handful full of health or just an alternative candy?  - © Pixabay

However, problem is what most dried cranberries in commercial production contain extra sugar, and they are often coated with very little vegetable oil so that they do not stick to each other.

Many homemade recipes for dried cranberries include the process of yes cranberry overnight in a combination of water and sugar, and before drying or freezing. This can lead to a large loss of natural nutrients from fresh cranberries, and be because of that not recommended.

Apple and pear drying technology

What is the best way to eat dried cranberries?

Dried cranberries contain the same nutrients as fresh cranberries, especially dietary fiber and antioxidants – unless sugar is added. However, commercial drying processes significantly reduce the content of vitamin A and vitamin C, and the addition of sugar reduces the amount of nutrients.

It would be best to have them dry yourself at home, without added sugar or preservatives. By dehydration, one cup of fresh fruit becomes ¼ cups of dried fruit. However, as cranberries are not sweet in themselves, some people need a smaller amount of sugar.

If we take into account that a cup of fresh cranberries contains about 9% of the daily sugar needs, yes commercially dried cranberries contain as much as 58% of their daily sugar needs, it is clear why it would be best to dry them yourself. You can also dry cranberries at home, and use alternative sweeteners such as stevia.

Dried cranberries can be used in salads, as a decorative addition to roast pork, in cakes, in combination with cereals, it can be added to shakes, smoothies or eaten alone, as a sweet.

Dried cranberries: A handful full of health or just an alternative candy?  - © Pixabay

How healthy are they?

Cranberries with minimal processing contain the most antioxidants. Consuming ¼ a cup of dried cranberries is equivalent to one serving of fruits and vegetables, or 25% of the recommended daily intake. Dried cranberries (without added sugar) have a very positive effect on our body. They are good for overall metabolism, and especially for the immune system and heart.

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Dried cranberries do not contain cholesterol, saturated and trans fats. Like other dried fruits, they are known for being a good source of fiber. Only 40g of this dried fruit contains 8% of the daily value of fiber, in addition to 6% of the recommended daily value for vitamin E.. They also contain larger amounts vitamin A, B complex and vitamin K., and there are minerals, such as copper, iron and manganese.

Dried cranberries improve oral health because they contain an element that stops bacteria from binding to the teeth and causing tooth decay. They also help prevent gum disease.

Dried cranberries: A handful full of health or just an alternative candy? - © Pixabay

Dried cranberries prevent urinary tract infections. When you eat them, you get a large dose of proanthocyanidins, which are antioxidants that prevent the bacteria that cause the infection from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.

Dried cranberries reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because they contain polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties. They help reduce hypertension and prevent the accumulation of platelets, which results in a reduced risk of cardiovascular problems.

Dried cranberries without sugar can be useful for people with type 2 diabetes. Because there is no sugar or crumbs are added, there is a lower glycemic index, so there is less reaction to insulin.

Dried cranberries have nutrients that prevent the appearance of certain tumors, and also help in slowing down existing ones. People who have a predisposition to suffer from prostate problems, as well as an indication of a possible disease of liver, colon and small intestine and ovaries, develop stronger immunity by consuming dried cranberries.

Use in the cosmetics industry

North America is the largest producer and exporter of fresh and processed cranberries worldwide, primarily due to the spread of awareness about the benefits of dried cranberries and their increasing use for cosmetic purposes, which is why the growth of their consumption is predicted.

Namely, cranberries in dried form can be added to various cosmetic products, especially those for skin care.

Dried cranberries: A handful full of health or just an alternative candy?  - © Pixabay

Studies have shown that cranberries have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants compared to any fruits and vegetables and that this concentration exceeds super foods such as strawberries, spinach and broccoli. In addition, as we have already mentioned, it has a lot of vitamins C, E and K, as well as manganese and fiber.

It could be said that they represent a new secret ingredient of the cosmetics industry. Cranberry oil is mostly used to increases shine and strength of hair, while dried cranberries have a great effect on improving the structure of dry and rough skin by increasing its elasticity.

Source: Agromedia by www.agromedia.rs.

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