Cranberry Health News

Spring 2020

Volume 17 — Issue 1

In this issue:
Cranberries Can Help Fill the Berry Gap!

Cranberries offer a wealth of health benefits – and here’s easy, budget-friendly ways to include cranberries throughout the whole week to make sure you (and your family) hit their fruit quota!

  • Add dried cranberries and cinnamon to your morning oatmeal for a healthy work from home breakfast

  • Cranberry sauce can be an easy base for a marinade, dressing or quick sauce to top off dinner

  • Pull the frozen cranberries from the freezer for baking, smoothies or this brunch-ready Cranberry Orange Dutch Baby.

  • Frozen cranberries can be used in place of fresh cranberries in many recipes

  • Dried cranberries are a classic salad topping – but they work just as well in all kinds of salads, from pasta to quinoa to chicken

  • Cranberries can also be a part of the main meal – from Pesto Chicken Burgers to Stir Fry and Pecan Rice Pilaf, cranberries elevate pantry staple meals to unique family-friendly dinners

  • Freeze cranberry juice in ice cube trays and add to smoothies for a fruity, nutritious kick

  • 7 Layer Cranberry Bars can be a great afternoon snack for the whole family

  • Parfaits layered with plain Greek yogurt and cranberry sauce can be an easy breakfast or quick snack that your kids help create

  • With extra time at home, get baking with cranberries from muffins to Nutty Cranberry Cereal Bars and Chewy Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies, there are lots of ways to add cranberries (and an extra fruit serving) to your treats

Sustainability on the Cranberry Marsh
Wisconsin Cranberry Marsh

Early this spring, Ray Habelman of Habelman Brothers Cranberries chatted with us about sustainability on cranberry farms – or marshes as they are called in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, Habelman is a 4th generation cranberry farmer who grew up on his family’s marsh in west central Wisconsin, which dates back to 1907.

Question: As a cranberry farmer, what does sustainability mean to you?

Answer: Cranberry bogs or marshes are often multigenerational farms, made possible by farmers who want to leave the land and water in better place than they found it. Growing-up on the cranberry marsh, you develop a close relationship and respect for the land because farming cranberries is a 24 hour-a-day job. There is no cranberry grower I’ve met that isn’t a steward of the environment. We grow up on the farm and take the environment very seriously.  

Q: What do you do to ensure your cranberries are grown and harvested in the most environmentally sustainable way possible?

A: Our motto is “only give the cranberries what they need.” We only want to give the vines exactly what is necessary. Our “Marsh Managers” – each with over 30 years of experience, develop a comprehensive nutrient management plan. Each year, they analyze the soil and cranberry vines to determine the appropriate amount of water and nutrients to provide the plants.

Beyond this, our marshes are set-up for saving water. While there is an ample supply of water in Wisconsin, we have a closed till-system that ensures all water used goes to the roots of the cranberry vines or is recycled and put back into the main lakes on the farm. 

Q: Can you please share a bit more about how the cranberry farm supports wildlife?

A: On our property we have about 700 acres dedicated to the cranberry marshes, but beyond that, we have close to 3,000 support acres of lakes, streams, managed land. Our farm supports birds, fish, bees and lots of other wildlife. Our pollinator gardens provide a habitat for bees when the cranberry plants are not blossoming. Every element of growing cranberries is supported by the diverse wildlife that surround us.

Bird Houses on Habelman Brothers’ Marsh
Wildlife on Habelman Brothers’ Marsh

You can find Habelman Brothers Cranberries when fresh cranberries are available at a grocery store near you!

Cranberries and Human Health

From head to toe, cranberries have whole-body benefits. We have examined the gut, heart, urinary tract, oral and blood sugar management benefits of cranberries. Like other fruits and vegetables, including cranberries as part of a well-balanced diet supports immune health. Read on for some of the latest research on cranberries and their anti-viral properties – from food safety to the flu, preliminary research suggests exciting potential for the tiny, but mighty berry!

New research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology illustrates the potential role for cranberry juice, in combination with citrus, in food safety applications. These preliminary findings suggest that cranberry juice and citrus may have the ability to kill norovirus in fresh produce. Fresh produce is commonly treated with a gamma ray or x-ray irradiation process to reduce microbial presence. Researchers tested the impact of a cranberry juice and citrus extract derived spray and applied it to lettuce. After being treated with the fruit-derived spray, the lettuce required significantly less irradiation time. Researchers hypothesize the organic acids and polyphenols present in cranberries and citrus extract played a role in reduction of microbial growth.

Gobeil A, Shanker S, Lacroix M. Radiosensitivity Increase in FCV-F9 Virus Using Combined Treatment With Natural Antimicrobial and ɣ-Irradiation.  J Appl Microbiol. 2020 ePub ahead of print. DOI: 10.1111/jam.14596

The anti-adhesion properties of cranberry allow them to be effective in minimizing risk of recurrent UTIs, as well as supporting gut and oral health. Beyond these health benefits, researchers sought to understand if the high molecular weight materials in cranberry juice would be effective in inhibiting influenza virus cells. Researchers applied high molecular weight materials to two different types of influenza virus subtypes. When treated with 250 ug/ml of high molecular weight materials, an amount smaller than the amount in just one glass of cranberry juice, a reduction in virus adhesion was seen. This suggests there is an inhibitory effect of high molecular weight cranberry compounds on the influenza virus. Although this research is preliminary, it suggests the therapeutic potential for cranberry juice.

Weiss EI, Houri-Haddad Y, Greenbaum E, Hochman N, Ofek I, Zakay-Rones Z.  Cranberry juice constituents affect influenza virus adhesion and infectivity. Antiviral Res. 2005; 66(1):9-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2004.12.011

The Cranberry Chronicles

We are pleased to share the latest addition to our resource collection! As you may know, The American Urological Association recently released new guidelines for preventing uncomplicated recurrent UTIs. These guidelines recommend cranberry products as a non-antibiotic prophylactic treatment. While cranberry products may not be effective in treating symptoms once infected, they may be the natural preventive solution your patients and clients need!

Utilize our newest handout when talking to your clients!

Cooking Up Cranberries

Cranberries offer a wealth of health benefits and are a versatile ingredient for spring baking! Check out these easy recipes from our Bog Blogger Network. 

Stay Connected!

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