Scientific Name: Vaccinium macrocarpon
Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) are marketed as superfruits because of their high flavonoid content. The cranberry bush is in the Ericaceae, a plant family that includes blueberries and huckleberries. It is a short shrub with relatively short trailing branches. Cranberries were once called bogberries because they often were (and still are) cultivated in acidic bogs in cooler climates. The United States is a major producer of cranberries. Cranberries are commonly eaten during Thanksgiving holiday as a sauce or in desserts.
Cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C (23% daily value [DV]), which acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect against oxidative damage and scavenge free radicals, which are harmful substances in the body. Vitamin C is also important for skin health. It is involved in the production of collagen. This protein plays a critical role in the strength and elasticity of skin.
Cranberries have high amounts of manganese (14% DV). Manganese helps to promote strong bones, making it a vital vitamin for bone development and maintenance. Combined with other vitamins, such as calcium, zinc and copper, manganese supports bone mineral density. Cranberries also contain moderate amounts of vitamin E (7% DV). Vitamin E helps maintain healthy skin and eyes, and supports the body's immune system. We also provide information on the medicinal uses and benefits of cranberries.