Thursday, August 7, 2014

More Cool Cranberry Facts and Another Guest Post Recipe From The Cranberry Institute: Cranberry Spinach Salad with Avocados

 (Photo Courtesy of the the Cranberry Marketing Committee)

I was happy to get another package in the mail from the Cranberry Institute this month with some great ingredients to make a delicious and nutritious spinach salad recipe they developed.  Check it out below along with some more interesting cranberry facts/ food tips they were kind enough to pass along!

Tips: Four Things You May Not Know about Cranberries

·         Scientists have shown that flavonoids give fruits, like cranberries, and vegetables most of their antioxidant properties and that a flavonoid-rich diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
·         Drinking 8–16 oz. of 27% original, low- or no-calorie cranberry juice cocktail each day is recommended to maintain urinary tract health and prevent urinary tract infections.
·         Dried cranberries are a good source of fiber with 2.3 grams per 40 gram serving (10% of the Daily Value)!
·         One-quarter cup of dried cranberries is equal to ½ cup of fruit, according to MyPlate.

Tricks: A Few Cranberry Summer Salad Combinations to Try

Add the following to your favorite greens for a fresh summer salad worthy of any barbecue or picnic.
·         Dried cranberries, garbanzo beans and carrots
·         Dried cranberries, orange slices and chopped broccoli 
·         Dried cranberries, cucumbers and feta cheese
·         Dried cranberries, green peppers and black beans
·         Dried cranberries, black beans and corn kernels
·         Dried cranberries, chopped pears and celery

Science Bites: News from Cranberry Scientists

Updated USDA-Reviewed Cranberry Health Research Review
The USDA recently reviewed an updated cranberry nutrition and health review published in the Cranberry Health Research Library on 

The review highlights the results of hundreds of analytical, laboratory, epidemiological, and human clinical trials. The areas of focus include the most recent published research studies and consensus regarding cranberries and:
·         Urinary tract health
·         Oral and gastrointestinal health
·         Cardiovascular health
·         Drug nutrient interactions

The review concludes that more than 350 research papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals about cranberry and its nutritional and health benefits. Collectively, they show that cranberries provide unique health properties that have anti-adhesion, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Further research is needed to fully understand the bioactive compounds present in cranberries, the mechanisms of action, and optimal dosage and duration for desired health effects.

PACs in Cranberry May Slow Digestion of Carbohydrates
Cranberry juice is known to contain myriad bioactive compounds that may help improve blood sugar control by slowing the digestion of carbohydrates. Now, researchers have reason to believe that the specific tannins in cranberries, referred to as proanthocyanidins (PACs), may be more effective at blunting blood sugar responses compared to tannins isolated from other fruits and cocoa.
The researchers isolated tannins from pomegranate, cranberry, grapes and cocoa to test their individual effectiveness at inhibiting the activity of certain enzymes that play a role in carbohydrate digestion (α-amylase and glucoamylase). Each of the tannins inhibited the enzymes in varying magnitude. In general, larger and more complex tannins, such as those in pomegranate and cranberry, more effectively inhibited the enzymes than did cocoa tannins. By inhibiting the enzymes, carbohydrate digestion is slower; therefore blood sugar control is improved. 
Barrett A, Hughey CA, Straut C, Howell AB, Ndou T, Dai Z, Kaletunc G.Inhibition of a-amylase and glucoamylase by tannins extracted from cocoa, pomegranates, cranberries and grapes. J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Jan 5
Our Favorite Recipe Right Now!

Cranberry Spinach Salad with Avocados
Yield: 4 servings

Dressing Ingredients
4 Tbsp. cranberry juice
2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad Ingredients
1/3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 small head of frisée lettuce
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced


1.       Place cranberry juice and dried cranberries in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in vinegar and Dijon mustard. Gradually whisk in canola oil so the mixture becomes a dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

2.       Rinse spinach and frisée; spin dry. Remove thick stems and cut larger leaves into bite-size pieces. Add avocado and onion slices.
3.       Gently toss salad ingredients with the dressing and serve.

Tip: If preparing in advance, sprinkle avocado slices with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Mix the salad ingredients with the dressing just before serving to keep the leaves fresh and crisp.

Nutrition Information Per Serving*: Calories 320, Calories from Fat 250, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 29g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 125mg, Total Carbohydrate 18g, Sugars 6g, Dietary Fiber 9g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 70%, Vitamin C35%, Calcium 10%, Iron 10%

*Excludes Salt and Pepper

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee

Cranberry Institute
P.O. Box 497
Carver, MA 02330


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