White Cranberry Juice

ORAC Value:
μ mol TE/100g.

The antioxidant value of White Cranberry Juice described in ORAC units is: 232 μ mol TE/100g.


Where does it come from?

What are white cranberries? Both the red and white colored berries come from the exact same plant, Vaccinium macrocarpon, which is the most common species used for juice. A white cranberry is simply one that has been harvested early, before it has turned into its distinctive red color. In Britain, their related native species Vaccinium oxycoccos can also be used to produce both colors by harvesting the crop before its ripe.

The white variety is popular for beverages, especially when blended such as in Ocean Spray's white cranberry peach juice or as an alcoholic drink, like a white cranberry cosmo (sold in a bottle under the Skinnygirl label).

As is the case with grape juices, the white berry has a much milder, less bitter taste. Being a more mellow flavor, it certainly lends itself to greater versatility in both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drink recipes. While commonly found at grocery stores in the United States, you won't always see it sold elsewhere in the world. One person we heard from in the U.K. has never once seen it on the shelves of her local supermarkets, but really wants to try it!

Is it just as nutritious for you?

Is white cranberry juice good for you? Not nearly as much as red, which has an ORAC value of 1,452 for pure unsweetened cranberry and 865 for the fruit-juice sweetened version. That means you are getting at least 70% less antioxidant content when you drink the white juice versus the red. For that reason it's fair to say it's not as healthy for you.

What about urinary tract infections?

Juice made from white cranberries hasn't been studied nearly as much as the red, therefore it's tough to conclusively say whether it has any health benefit for reduced urinary tract infections (like the red does). That said, there is evidence to suggest it does not.

It was nearly three decades ago, in 1989, when research found that if you pour red cranberry juice on E. coli, the bacteria is not able to stick as well to tissue (1). In other words, since it can't attach itself as well to the digestive tract (and enter the bloodstream) it becomes more likely to be flushed out in your pee. Orange, apple, grape, and white cranberry juices did not have the same effect, which suggests (though does not prove) that it may be the red phytonutrients in cranberry juice which are the active ingredient in benefiting bacterial urinary tract infections.

ORAC Source

USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 - Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - May 2010