Cranberries are bitter-tasting berries that are full of powerful phytochemicals that protect your body from illness. These berries are traditionally sweetened and cooked or sweetened and dried to reduce some of their tartness. You can eat cranberries in their raw state, but the pungent flavor may not be pleasing to your palate.
Once cranberries are processed, beneficial phytochemical compounds are damaged, lessening their benefits to your body. Fresh raw cranberries have higher levels of phytochemicals, specifically phenols, versus their cooked or dried counterparts. Phenols act like antioxidants in your system by neutralizing damaging free radicals. When too many free radicals gather in your system, they attack healthy cells, which increase your risk of cancer and other chronic conditions. The high phytochemical content of raw cranberries helps neutralize harmful free radicals, reducing your risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer, reports The New York Times.