An Irish rock band from the 90s, a festive decoration at Christmastime, a ruby red fruit that has amazing health benefits, especially for people with diabetes. When considering the latter, cranberries definitely do not get the credit they deserve.
To clarify, I’m talking about cranberries in their natural form, not their sweetened and dried relatives. One cup of pure cranberries contains 13 grams of carbohydrate and only 51 calories, versus the 33 grams of carbohydrate and 130 calories that a mere ¼ cup of craisins contains. Those numbers clearly show which cranberry deviation is a better choice for a person with diabetes.
The Health Benefits of Cranberries
Furthermore, cranberries provide a good source of Vitamins C, E, and K, as well as fiber. They are powerful antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory functions. In terms of how they may be good for people with diabetes, a number of studies indicate that cranberry juice intake may produce a favorable glycemic response in people with type 2 diabetes (http://www.cranberryinstitute.org/doclib/doclib.cgi/3/). Plus, the health benefits of cranberries include helping to protect the liver and the cardiovascular system, and they are popularly known to prevent urinary tract infections (http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/cranberry)
So, what are some ways in which you can enjoy sugar free cranberries in your diet? For those who are more reluctant to try cranberries in their solid form, diet juices sold throughout groceries stores come in a large assortment of flavors like cranberry with a hint of lime or cran-pomegranate. Cranberries are great as the central ingredient to a dish or as an add-in that gives a meal more flavor. Try including some in tossed salads, or make a twist on the traditional “ants-on-a-log” snack by swapping out raisins for sugar free cranberries for a tasty update on the classic celery and peanut butter treat. For more cranberry recipes, check out the links to ones featured here on ASweetLife: they’re low-carb, sugar-free, and perfect to prepare for the holiday season. Our culinary contributor, Carolyn Ketchum, has a wonderful recipe for homemade sugar free cranberries.