Berry fans don't have to look to China or South America any more. It seems the good ol' cranberry will do just fine.
The tart red fruit has long been a home remedy for urinary tract infections, and scientific research has since indicated that natural tannins found primarily in cranberries, called "A-type proanthocyanidins," or PACs, may help prevent viral infections, cardiovascular disease, stomach ulcers and some forms of cancer.
"We were able to show that they have a different shape in the molecules than the other types of tannins that you find in red wine or chocolate," said Amy Howell, associate research scientist at Rutgers University's Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research.
There are a number of ways to get a protective dose, Howell said. Eight ounces of cranberry juice cocktail, a quarter cup of fresh or frozen berries, or a third of a cup each of dried or sauced cranberries all deliver approximately the same level of protection, Howell said.
"You can make juice and pasteurize it; you can dry them into raisin form; and we even find activity in canned cranberry sauce," she said, noting the durability of this particular PAC allows it to stand up to the rigors of modern-day processing.