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    Ocean Spray Pushes Cranberries As Healthy Snack

    Company says adding the fruit to diet helps meet USDA guidelines.

    Ocean Spray is recommending Americans add more cranberries to their diet to meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent recommendation to eat more fruit and to benefit from their antioxidant properties.

    In a release, the agricultural co-op suggested consumers meet the recommended two cups of fruit per day – up from one cup per day - by adding dried cranberries or cranberry juice to their diets.

    "Choosing from a variety of products such as 100 percent cranberry juice blend or sweetened dried cranberries provide a couple of ways that people can customize their diets and get more fruit each day," Elizabeth Ward, R.D., nutrition expert and author, said. "We know that people don't like to be told what they cannot eat, so the good news is that these new guidelines emphasize eating more fruit rather than restricting consumption."

    With more antioxidants per gram than most other fruit, cranberries bolster the body's defenses against free radical damage that can contribute to many chronic diseases including heart disease. In addition, proanthocyanidins, or PACs, are the all-natural compounds in cranberry that keep bacteria from sticking to the body helping to ward off urinary tract infections, stomach ulcers and gum disease.

    Ward offered the following ways to bring the health benefits of the cranberries into anyone's diet: Toss Craisins Sweetened Dried Cranberries into yogurt or hot or cold cereal; use a fat-free and flavorful sandwich spread like cranberry sauce on a turkey or ham sandwich; create a spicy cranberry chutney using fresh or frozen cranberries; or snack on 100-percent cranberry juice.

    Ocean Spray is owned by more than 650 cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and other parts of Canada, as well as more than 100 Florida grapefruit growers. It posted fiscal 2004 gross sales of roughly $1.4 billion.

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