What nutrients are there in cranberries ?

This review by Pappas and Schaich discusses Vaccinium macrocarpon, the American cranberry, recording a comprehensive list of phytochemical components, and their prevalence in cranberry fruit and its products. Increased dietary consumption of fruits and vegetables may improve increased cardiovascular health and may reduced the risk of cancer, stroke, degenerative diseases, loss of functionality associated with aging, and more . While fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals, recent attention has focused on the effects of other chemicals present in fruit and vegetables , phytochemical components such as flavonoids, stilbenes, nonnutritive carotenoids, phytoestrogens, terpenes and other diverse phenolics
The possible mechanisms of phytochemical action remain largely unexplained and are the subject of speculation and research. Antioxidant mechanisms have been proposed, especially for cardiovascular health, cancer and age-related degenerative diseases . Phytochemical interact with vital proteins, signal transduction pathways, and bind to pathogen .There is increasing signs that non-nutrient phytochemicals have a place in the health promotion afforded by fruits and vegetables.
Cranberries contain an abundance of flavonoids, especially colored anthocyanins, abundant flavonols, and unique proanthocyanidins, other notable active components include phenolic acids, benzoates, hydroxycinnamic acids, terpenes and organic acids. The health effects of cranberries, cranberry products, and isolated cranberry components in humans and animals, as well as in vitro, are discussed.
Finally, the effects of processing and storage on cranberry phytochemicals is discussed, with afocus on identifying research gaps and novel means to preserve their natural, health-promoting components.

( 2009 ) Phytochemicals of Cranberries and Cranberry Products: Characterization, Potential Health Effects, and Processing Stability. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition vol 49,741-781

Martin Eastwood
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