The Health Benefits of Cranberry Sauce

sugar free cranberry sauce
A small bowl of cranberry sauce. (Image: marekuliasz/iStock/Getty Images)

Cranberry sauce is higher in calories than fresh cranberries, but still contains several nutrients that support overall health and protect you from health problems. Cranberry sauce is available canned, but making your own from fresh berries allows for more control over what ingredients you use to prepare it, which could make it a healthier choice. However you eat it, cranberry sauce offers many health benefits.

Fiber

A 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce contains 1 g of fiber. Increasing your fiber intake helps relieve constipation and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Eating foods that contain fiber promote healthy cholesterol levels, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Women should aim for 21 to 25 g of fiber each day and men need 30 to 38 g.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a nutrient that helps keep your immune system working efficiently and preventing illnesses from occurring. It also aids in wound healing and protects the health of your gums and teeth. A 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce contributes 4 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

Low In Fat

While commercial cranberry sauce is relatively high in calories, with 210 per 1/2 cup serving, it is low in fat, with only 1 g per 1/2 cup. A diet that is low in fat helps protect you from weight gain, heart disease and diabetes. Use cranberry sauce when making marinades or dressings as a way to reduce the amount of oil you use. Cranberry sauce contains no saturated or trans fat, both of which are associated with an increased risk of heart problems, including high cholesterol levels.

Antioxidants

Cranberries are a good source of antioxidants, plant compounds that protect you from free radical damage that occurs with exposure to environmental toxins. You still get these benefits when you eat cranberry sauce. A diet rich in antioxidants protects you from developing cancer and heart disease. Both whole berry and jellied cranberry sauce varieties offer similar antioxidant benefits.

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