Cranberries Aren’t Only For Thanksgiving
Because cranberries offer some pretty impressive health benefits, they should become more than just “special occasion” foods.
Fresh cranberries become available in many grocery stores starting around mid-autumn. These berries have become a beloved part of traditional Thanksgiving meals. They can be made into cranberry juice, chopped up and added to salads, and baked into turkey stuffing. During the holiday months they are added to muffins, cookies, pound cakes, kuchens, pastries, and quiches. And let’s not forget that many Christmas and Thanksgiving meals would be incomplete without cranberry sauce.
Cranberries are in the Ericaceae plant family, along with blueberries. Their bright color is due to the presence of water soluble pigments called anthocyanins. Cranberries are good sources of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and manganese. Unless someone is allergic to cranberries, they are healthy for most people to eat. However, cranberries contain salicylic acid, which is an important ingredient in aspirin. Therefore, consult your doctor before eating a lot of cranberry products if you are taking blood thinners, or are allergic to aspirin.
Health benefits of cranberries
Cranberries have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any fruit. Antioxidants protect the cells inside our bodies from free-radical damage. Scientists believe this cell damage is linked to the development of cancer and blood vessel disease.
Cranberries can help with the prevention of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). Cranberries contain chemicals that make it harder for infection-causing bacteria (such as e. coli) to stick to the walls of the body’s urinary tract. Stopping bacteria from attaching to the bladder lining can prevent the start of a UTI.
Cranberries have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Current research links inflammation (the body’s immune response to cell injury) to many health conditions including autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and age-related ailments. Incorporating cranberries into a proper diet can decrease chronic inflammation.
Cranberries are high in fiber. Fiber rich foods make people feel full faster. People don’t usually feel hungry again for a while after eating fiber rich foods. High fiber foods also promote digestive health.
Natural cranberry juice prevents tooth decay. Chemicals found in cranberries prevent harmful bacteria from clinging to the surface of teeth. Natural cranberry juice (free of added sweeteners) also seems to disrupt the formation of dental plaque.