Through the process of dehydration, cranberries can be dried much like their grape counterpart to make a raisin-like byproduct. Dried cranberries carry a naturally acidic taste, but most commercial dried fruits are enhanced with sugars to complement their acidity. Cranberries are popular in North America, especially around the holiday times as they make for good side dishes. On the other hand, dried cranberries are popular as trail mix ingredients, salad or cereal toppings, incorporated into bread, cakes, or other pastries, and even eaten on their own as snacks. One company has coined a term to describe dried cranberries and has become the leading name in the business.
Ocean Spray has been a leader in the dried cranberry market with their Craisins brand. The company works as an agricultural co-op and manufactures many different kinds of dried cranberry goods. The original Craisins Dried Cranberries is the most basic of all Craisins products. They are simple dried cranberries, some with sugar or reduced sugar. There are also Craisins infused with other fruit flavors such as blueberry, cherry, and pomegranate. For those who crave a little bit of dairy with their fruit, there are yogurt-covered Craisins or chocolate-covered Craisins as well. As far as heartier alternatives, Craisins have fruit cluster alternatives combined with almond or granola, and there are also Ocean Spray trail mixes that have Craisins, fruit, nuts, or chocolate. As long as they are consumed in moderation, any of these options have a number of healthy benefits for the body. Here are some of the benefits of eating Craisins.
No fat and no cholesterol
We all have an idea that cholesterol and fats are generally bad. Although this statement is oversimplified, it is mostly true. High cholesterol levels are usually associated with heart disease and clogged arteries, while bad fats such as trans or saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels in the blood stream. Craisins are naturally cholesterol free and contain no fats altogether. There will be no worries of clogging up arteries when you consume Craisins in any amount. Although they also don’t contain any good fats, they do contain other beneficial ingredients.
Benefits of fruit
When you eat Craisins, remember that you are actually eating fruit. One serving of Craisins can provide you with 25% of your daily recommended intake of fruit. This means that a full cup of Craisins can fulfill the daily recommendation. While eating fresh fruits may not always be available, Craisins are very portable and easy to pack in bags. You can even purchase individually packaged snack boxes of Craisins. This guarantees that you get your daily dose of fruits whenever and wherever you have to be. When you eat Craisins, you also get all the vitamins and minerals typical with dried cranberries.
Weight loss benefits
Since it is so easy to carry around, Craisins are the perfect snack for those looking to shed a few pounds. They are much better alternatives compared to other snacks you might crave for before or after a work out. They are also great in salads and smoothies, and because they are low in calories, you can make sure your calorie count doesn’t go overboard. There are also a few other ways Craisins can be good for weight loss. They also happen to be rich in fiber and contain no sodium whatsoever.
Fiber is very important in the function of the digestive system. Craisins contain a good amount of fiber that is helpful in maintaining optimal levels in your body. Fiber helps relieve constipation and even prevent it altogether. Insoluble fiber that is typical in fruits and vegetables helps with the movement of waste material in the digestive system to promote regular bowel movements. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, acts to lower both cholesterol and glucose levels in the body. Incorporating Craisins regularly into any diet can improve the quality and function of the digestive system dramatically.
While sodium is necessary for the body to work optimally, too much of it can become dangerous. An excess of sodium in the body can create a chemical imbalance that can have serious medical repercussions. The body uses sodium to produce nerve impulses and to allow muscles to contract. Sodium also happens to attract water, so it can help in regulating fluids all throughout the body and in the bloodstream, tissues, and organs. The kidneys can only manage relative amounts of sodium in the body to convert into urine. Significant excess in sodium that the kidneys can no longer handle will stay in the body, and this can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and even some types of cancer. When you eat Craisins, you don’t need to worry about your sodium levels at all, as they are completely sodium free.
What to watch out for
The only concern you’ll have when eating Craisins is the amount of sugar you’ll be consuming. Although Craisins have natural sugars, it is still important to watch sugar intake altogether, as too much sugar in the diet can cause a host of other health problems such as weight gain, cavities, diabetes, obesity, and liver failure among others.
Craisins have plenty of health benefits that qualify them easily as foods that are good for you. The key is to eat them in healthy amounts and to no excess daily. Measuring serving sizes of Craisins is one good way to make sure you are eating just enough and not too much. As good as they are, you can risk popping Craisins into your mouth one after another until you’ve finished the whole bag without even realizing it. That’s just how tasty Craisins are, so be careful and portion your servings to stay within the healthy zone.
Konrad, A. (2014). “Bigger Than Craisins: Can A Third Way To Sell Cranberries Keep Ocean Spray Fresh?”. www.forbes.com.
“Ocean Spray’s Creative Juices”. (2014). www.businessweek.com.
Wilson, T., Luebke, E.F., Carrell, M.C., Leveranz, L. K., Schmidt, T.P., Limburg, P.J., Vorsa, N. & Singh, A.P. Glycemic Responses to Sweetened Dried and Raw Cranberries in Humans with Type 2 Diabetes. “Journal of Food Science”, vol. 75 (8), pp. H218-223. 2010.