Spring 2014  |  Volume 13 - Issue 15



A New Comprehensive Review of the Health Benefits of Cranberries in Advances in Nutrition Available for Continuing Education Credits through Today's Dietitian!

Led by Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS, Director, Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and Dr. Helmut Sies, Research Professor at Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany, ten world-renowned cranberry and human health researchers collaborated to publish a review of the most current science on the health benefits of cranberries.

The article entitled, “Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health,” was published in the November issue of Advances in Nutrition, and provides in-depth information about the bioactive compounds in cranberry and the pathways by which they may help protect against urinary tract infection, cardiovascular health and diabetes.

The Cranberry Institute and Today’s Dietitian, with permission from Advances in Nutrition, partnered to create a continuing education course for registered dietitians. Registered dietitians will receive credits after studying the review and completing a multiple-choice exam.

Click Here to Read the Article: Advances in Nutrition


Blumberg JB, Camesano TA, Cassidy A, Kris-Etherton P, Howell A, Manach C, Ostertag LM, Sies H, Skulas-Ray A, Vita JA.Cranberries and their bioactive constituents in human health. Adv Nutr. 2013 Nov 6;4(6):618-32. doi: 10.3945/an.113.004473.

Click Here to Read for Continuing Education


A New Market for Dried Cranberries: The US School Breakfast and Lunch Programs!

Beginning this July, for the first time, school foodservice professionals that represent more than 100,000 public and non-profit private schools nationwide will be able to buy and serve dried cranberries for their school foodservice programs. Previously, only cranberry sauce was available for school foodservice. The announcement comes as great news for the cranberry industry, as more than 90% of school foodservice managers surveyed say they’d include dried cranberries in their menus if this fruit were available for their programs.

As part of the USDA’s commitment to making school meals healthier, the Foods Available List (FAL) has undergone several modifications to help ensure that children are getting more options for fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy choices. As a result of the new guidelines, every ¼ cup of dried cranberries served equals a ½ cup of fruit for the school lunch program.

As a healthy, convenient and delicious fruit serving, dried cranberries are a great way to increase more variety of fruit into our nation’s schools. The Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) is providing resources to encourage school foodservice operators to include dried cranberries on the menu in novel ways. In July 2013, the CMC unveiled five school foodservice-friendly recipes in a School Lunch Toolkit. The program may become a way to increase sales of dried cranberries outside of school too: As students enjoy cranberry-containing menu items at school, they may request cranberries at home, too.

Click Here to View the School Lunch Toolkit and School Foodservice Recipes


Updated USDA-Evaluated Cranberry Health Research Review

The USDA recently evaluated an updated cranberry nutrition and health review to be published in the Cranberry Health Research Library on cranberryinstitute.org.

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 375 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.


Cranberry Products to Help Fight the Cold and Flu? Clinical Trial Shows Promising Results

It’s well known that cranberry polyphenols exhibit anti-adhesion properties in the urinary tract, but preliminary research suggests that cranberry’s anti-bacterial and immune-booster effects may extend beyond the urinary tract to provide total body protection against bacteria and viruses related to the common cold and flu.

To test this theory, researchers from the University of Florida conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial with 43 adults who were randomly assigned and blinded to receive either a 16 oz. low-calorie cranberry juice beverage that was prepared from a cranberry fraction powder or a 16 oz. placebo beverage daily. The cranberry fraction powder provided the equivalent anthocyanins of about 8 ounces of a 27% cranberry juice cocktail. During the 10-week study, researchers analyzed subjects’ immune system cells that served as markers of immunity. The subjects also reported whether they experienced cold or flu-like symptoms during the course of the study.

The results showed that those drinking cranberry juice had significantly greater T-cell proliferation and a lower production of inflammatory cytokine, which indicates an improvement in immune responses. While the incidence of colds and flu were not different between the two groups, the total number of self-reported cold or flu symptoms were significantly lower in the subjects drinking cranberry juice. While more research is needed, the authors conclude that cranberry may provide systemic benefits to the immune system, and therefore may help protect against various infections.

Nanty MP, Rowe CA, Muller C, Creasy R, Cole J, Kholo C, Percival SS. Consumption of cranberry polyphenols enhances human γδ-T cell proliferation and reduces the number of symptoms associated with colds and influenza: a randomized, placebo-controlled intervention study. Nutr J. 2013 Dec 13;12:161. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-12-161.

Cranberry Juice Drinkers Have Healthier Diets, Smaller Waistlines and Lower MBIs

Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are often singled out as contributors to obesity, as they account for the highest proportion of added sugars in the U.S. diet compared to any other food categories. Unfortunately, cranberry juice is often included in the group of beverages to limit due to the added sugar it contains.

To assess whether cranberry juice consumption is linked with overweight or other negative health outcomes, researchers at Virginia Tech use data on U.S. adult diets from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Survey 2005-2008 to compare those who drink cranberry juice to those who didn’t report drinking cranberry beverages. The researchers found that 5.6% of the population reported drinking an average of 7.5 ounces of cranberry beverages, which provided about 125-150 mg/day of flavonoids. Cranberry juice consumers were primarily white or non-Hispanic women over 30 years old.

The results found that compared with non-cranberry consumers, those who drank juice had the same energy intake, slightly higher intakes of carbohydrate, but lower levels of total fat. A higher proportion of cranberry consumers were classified as normal weight and they had lower waist circumferences and BMI values than non-cranberry consumers.  

The results of this paper show that cranberry juice products provide vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and other bioactive compounds important for health and they are not linked to overweight or any other adverse health outcome. Despite cranberry beverages having added sweeteners, they do not appear to have any negative health consequences, based on this population-based report.

Duffey KJ, Sutherland LA. Adult cranberry beverage consumers have healthier macronutrient intakes and measures of body composition compared to non-consumers: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2008.  Nutrients. 2013 Dec 4;5(12):4938-49. doi: 10.3390/nu5124938.


Meet Cheryl Toner, MS, RD, CI's Health Research Coordinator

The Cranberry Institute is happy to announce that registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) Cheryl Toner, MS, RD, has become the Cranberry Institute’s health research coordinator. In this role, Cheryl will help guide the Cranberry Institute in short and long-term goals to continue advancing research about the health benefits of cranberry and providing new marketing opportunities for the industry. 

Cheryl has 13 years of experience as a RDN and communications expert. As President of CDT Consulting, LLC, she works with organizations that focus on food, health, and wellness to facilitate strategic dialogue; build partnerships; analyze nutrition policy, science, and practice issues; manage research projects; and develop scientific papers and continuing education resources.

From 2009-2012, Cheryl completed a fellowship with the Nutritional Science Research Group in the Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), in which she initiated a public/private initiative on “Enhancing Translation of Nutrition Science from Bench to Food Supply.” Prior to launching her consulting practice, she directed functional foods, biotechnology, and caffeine programs for more than six years with the International Food Information Council (IFIC). She earned a BS in nutrition with a Minor in Spanish at the University of Houston, a MS in nutrition at Texas Woman’s University, and completed her dietetic internship at the Houston Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Houston, TX. Cheryl lives with her husband, two daughters and dog in Virginia.


cooking with cranberry

Cranberry Harvest Pasta Salad

Serves 6

Harvest Dressing* (⅓ cup)

  • ⅓ cup prepared balsamic dressing
  • ½ Tbsp. Honey-Dijon mustard

Pasta Salad

  • 3 cups cooked short pasta (fusilli, penne), drained (6 oz. dry)
  • ¾ cup blanched broccoli florets, drained
  • ¾ cup diced carrots
  • ⅓ cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • ¼ cup minced scallions
  • ⅓ cup Harvest Dressing*


  1. In a bowl, whisk together balsamic dressing and mustard until smooth. Place in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before using.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions until just tender. Remove from hot water and drain well. Hold.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except dressing. Toss gently.
  4. Stir in Harvest Dressing* and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
  5. Note: Top pasta with grilled chicken or turkey to make an entrée salad.


Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee

Cranberry Salsa Chicken Salad Wrap

Serves 6

Cranberry Salsa* (makes ¾ cup)

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ cup minced sweet onions
  • ⅓ cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • ¼ cup canned pears in juice, drained and diced (juice reserved)
  • ¼ cup reserved canned pear juice
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • Pinch ground red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro


  • 6 whole-grain wraps, 8-inch
  • 6 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 12 oz. sliced/shredded cooked chicken
  • ¾ cup Cranberry Salsa*


  1. For Cranberry Salsa*: In a sauce pan, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onions and sauté for 2 minutes, making sure not to brown.
  2. Stir in cranberries, pears, pear juice, vinegar and red pepper and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until glazed. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro. Bring to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. For Each Sandwich: Lay out a wrap on a clean, flat, dry surface. Spread each wrap with 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise. Top with ¼ cup lettuce, 2 oz. chilled chicken and 2 Tbsp. Cranberry Salsa*.
  4. Fold up and secure. Cut in half and keep chilled until ready to serve.


Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee