Health-conscious consumers are ditching less healthy oils and showing interest in cold-pressed edible seed oils such as cranberry. It has a healthy nutrient profile and is a good option if you're looking to increase your intake of beneficial fats. It's heat-sensitive, though, and not suitable for cooking. Instead, drizzle it atop cranberry-crusted salmon, chicken and other dishes to add healthy fats.
Rich in Omega-3 Fats
Cranberry seed oil is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It's composed of up to 35 percent alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fat necessary for proper growth and development. The oil also contains other nutritious fats and provides a healthier balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. That ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in cranberry seed oil is between 1.2 to 1 and 2 to 1, according to a study published in the September 2014 issue of the journal Food Science and Nutrition. The typical American diet contains a much higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats, which may promote inflammation and chronic disease.
High in Antioxidants
Cranberry seed oil is notably high in antioxidants, according to a June 2010 article published in the journal Recent Patents on Biotechnology. The antioxidants in your diet play crucial a role in protecting cells against damage from unstable molecules called free radicals. When cells become damaged by free radicals, they may stop working or function poorly. Free radical damage is implicated in the aging process and chronic diseases, but definitive studies are needed to prove whether cranberry oil has a significant effect on aging.
Contains Heart-Healthy Compounds
Cranberry seed oil is high in flavonoid compounds called anthocyanins. They serve as natural pigments for fruits with vivid blue, purple, orange and red colors. Of all fruits and vegetables, berries are known to contain concentrated amounts of anthocyanins. Because berry consumption is linked to a reduced risk of heart diseases, scientists have investigated anthocyanins for potential cardiovascular health. In the October 2007 issue of the journal Phytochemistry Reviews, researchers published a review of evidence supporting the idea that anthocyanins may protect your heart.
Loaded With Vitamin E
Particularly high amounts of tocopherols and tocotrienols, two forms of vitamin E, are found in cranberry seed oil, according to the book "Cranberries: Nature's Nutrient Powerhouse" by Candace Hoffmann. Vitamin E plays a role in keeping your skin vibrant and healthy and is commonly found in skin and beauty products. It's a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in protecting your skin from the damaging affects of the sun's ultraviolet rays. Sun damage can cause skin issues such as sun spots and wrinkles. Vitamin E also has anti-inflammatory effects and helps regulate the inflammatory response of your skin.
- Food Science and Nutrition: Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Sources and Evaluation of Their Nutritional and Functional Properties
- Recent Patents on Biotechnology: Genus Vaccinium: Medicine, Cosmetics, and Coatings
- Phytochemistry Reviews: Anthocyanins: From Plant to Health
- Cranberries: Nature's Nutrient Powerhouse; Candace Hoffmann
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin E