What Are the Health Benefits of Dried Cranberries vs. Cranberry Juice?

by Maia Appleby, NASM-CPT, Demand Media Google
    Dried cranberries are higher in fiber, but lower in most nutrients, than cranberry juice.

    Dried cranberries are higher in fiber, but lower in most nutrients, than cranberry juice.

    Cranberries are nutritious, high in fiber and rich in antioxidants, but when you juice them or dry them, their nutritional profile changes. Juicing removes some of their fiber content, and the heat used during the dehydration process depletes them of some of their water-soluble nutrients. Drying them condenses their vitamin and mineral content, however, making a handful of dried cranberries comparable, in some respects, to a glass of cranberry juice.

    Immune Function

    If you are trying to increase your intake of antioxidants, which help prevent premature aging and may protect you against illness and bacteria, cranberry juice is superior to dried cranberries. An 8-ounce glass of cranberry juice has 107 milligrams of vitamin C, surpassing your daily requirement of 75 milligrams. A 1/3-cup serving of dried cranberries has less than 1 milligram of vitamin C.

    Blood Health and Metabolism

    Cranberry juice provides one-sixth of the vitamin K you need each day, while dried cranberries provide one-tenth. Vitamin K helps your blood clot properly, protecting you from developing bleeding disorders. However, dried cranberries have four times as much niacin as cranberry juice, giving you 3 percent of your daily requirement. Niacin is a B-complex vitamin that works with other B vitamins to help your body convert food to energy.

    Weight Control and Digestion

    Cranberry juice is a little more energy-dense than dried cranberries, with 137 calories per serving, compared to 123 calories in dried cranberries. Each contains negligible amounts of protein and fat. One important benefit of snacking on dried cranberries is their fiber content, however. A 1/3-cup serving has 2.3 grams of dietary fiber, while cranberry juice has no fiber at all. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get about 25 grams of fiber per day. Dried cranberries can help you meet that goal.

    Urinary Tract Infections

    Any discussion on cranberries is bound to turn to the urinary tract. Cranberry juice is a common home remedy for urinary tract infections. In 2012, "Archives of Internal Medicine" published a report on 13 studies that tested cranberry juice's ability to protect against urinary tract infections and concluded that it is effective. Dried cranberries are also beneficial, according to researchers who published a study in "British Journal of Nutrition" in 2010. They gave dried cranberries to 42 people for six months and found that those subjects had statistically significant improvement in symptoms associated with urinary tract infection.

    About the Author

    Maia Appleby is a NASM-certified personal trainer with more than 15 years of experience in the fitness and nutrition industry. Her articles have been published in a wide variety of print magazines and online publications, including the "Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health," Bodybuilding.com and "Metro Parent Magazine." With a passion for fitness and nutrition, she has also worked as a Pilates instructor and weight-loss counselor.

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