What are cranberries?
Cranberries grow on vine-like plants similar to strawberries, and typically come from North America or eastern Europe, although you can grow them in the UK under the right conditions. They are usually harvested between September and November, and in the UK you’ll see the fresh berries in the shops from October to December.
Discover our full range of health benefit guides or check out some of our best cranberry recipes, from our porridge with beetroot, apple & cranberry compote & toasted hazelnuts to pumpkin, cranberry & red onion tagine.
Nutritional benefits of cranberries
An 80g serving of fresh cranberries provides:
- 12kcal / 52kj
- 0.3g protein
- 0.1g fat
- 2.7g carbohydrate
- 2.7g sugars
- 3.2g fibre
- 76mg potassium
- 10mg vitamin C
Either an 80g serving of fresh cranberries or a single glass of 150ml unsweetened cranberry juice counts as one of your five-a-day. However, as with all juices, only one glass counts and consuming more will not provide further contributions to your five-a-day intake. Take a look at our printable infographic to discover what counts towards your five-a-day.
Top 5 health benefits of cranberries
1. Rich in antioxidant compounds
2. May help prevent urinary tract infections
3. May support heart health
4. May protect against gastric ulcer and stomach cancer
5. May protect against certain cancers
Are cranberries safe for everyone?
It’s possible to be allergic to cranberries, although this appears to be rare. The berries contain significant amounts of a compound called salicylic acid, which may trigger reactions in sensitive individuals. Those with an aspirin allergy should avoid consuming large amounts of cranberry juice.
Signs of a mild reaction include an itchy mouth or tongue, sneezing or a runny nose. If you experience these symptoms, speak to your GP. If a more serious allergic reaction occurs, call for an ambulance immediately.
Read more from the NHS about allergic reactions.
Cranberries and concentrated cranberry products may contain high amounts of oxalates, which may increase the risk of kidney stones in some predisposed people.
Cranberries and any products that contain them or their juice may interact with certain prescribed medications, including warfarin. If in doubt or you have concerns, refer to your GP for guidance.
Healthy cranberry recipes
This article was last reviewed on 31 August 2021 by Kerry Torrens.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.