The sweet-tart flavor of cranberries adds taste to a meal. This fruit's versatility and shelf life are extended by drying. You may opt to incorporate dried cranberries, also called craisins, into cookies, bread and other baked goods, or sprinkle them over salads for a hint of sweetness. You can also eat them just like raisins, a handful at a time as a quick snack. Dried cranberries are low in fat and high in fiber.
Calories and Fat
Dried cranberries provide 125 calories in each 1/3-cup serving. This fits in well to your meal plan as a snack. Your diet should include healthy snacks of 100 to 200 calories that ease hunger pains and provide a boost of energy. You also take in 0.5 grams of fat in a serving of dried cranberries, a tiny fraction of the recommended allotment of 44 to 78 grams of fat per day, or 20 to 35 percent of the calories you eat.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
A serving of dried cranberries contains 32 grams of carbohydrates, or 9.8 to 14.2 percent of the carbs you should eat daily if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. One serving also has 7.5 grams of fiber. Your meal plan should include 21 to 38 grams of fiber per day to decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and less serious conditions, such as constipation.
Including dried cranberries in your diet adds 18.5 grams of sugar to your meal plan. Natural sugars, such as those found in dried cranberries, probably will not lead to health problems. Despite this, consume dried cranberries in moderation, as too much sugar from fruit may interfere with your hormones, including those that regulate insulin and blood sugar.
Vitamins and Minerals
Dried cranberries are a good source of vitamin C, as each serving contains 20 percent of the daily recommended intake. This makes dried cranberries a good option for speeding the rate at which you heal from injury. You also get 2 percent of the iron you need each day in a serving of cranberries.
Many people believe drinking cranberry juice or eating cranberries, including dried cranberries, helps prevent urinary tract infections, although no scientific evidence bears this out. One area where science does back the benefits of cranberries is the usefulness of the fruit's phytochemicals. Research published in the August 2010 issue of the journal "Food Science and Nutrition" correlates anthocyanins, flavonols, phenolic acid compounds and proanthocyanidins -- all phytochemicals -- to the prevention of a range of medical conditions, including stomach ulcers, some types of cancer and heart disease.
- Fitbit: Dried Cranberries
- The Diet Channel: Calories: What's an Ideal Daily Intake?
- Cleveland Clinic: Eating Too Much Sugar? It's Time to Tame Your Sweet Tooth; Melissa Ohlson; 2009
- Dr. Ben Kim: Eating Too Much Fruit Can Be Bad For Your Health; Ben Kim; Jul 31, 2004
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Cranberry...Urinary Tract Infections
- "Food Science and Nutrition"; Bioactive Compounds in...Properties; J. Cote, et al; August 2010