Mention cranberries and a lot of yummy things come to mind. Like cranberry sauce, cranberry drinks, and dried cranberries added to stuffing, casseroles or dessert. And who celebrates Thanksgiving without a little cranberry in their recipe? You have to admit that this berry is one of our all-time favorites!
Cranberries were first cultivated in North America and are still widely grown across Canada and the Northern states in the US.
In ancient times, they were used by Native Americans as a treatment for bladder and kidney diseases. Early settlers from England also used them to treat poor appetite, stomach complaints, blood disorders, and scurvy.
Due to its high nutrient and antioxidant content, cranberries are a healthful food. (One cup of cranberries measures a total 8,983 antioxidant capacity). No wonder they are also called “superfood.” And the good news for calorie conscious folks is that a cup of cranberries contains only 50 calories!
The nutrients in cranberries have been found to lower risks of urinary tract infections, prevent certain types of cancer, improve immune function, and decrease blood pressure.
Here are some facts you should know about cranberries:
- Cranberries are a popular and healthful food, associated with tons of health solutions.
- They are unbelievably low in calories.
- Cranberries contain the B vitamins, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6. They are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin E.
- Cranberries also contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), an antioxidant.
110 grams of chopped cranberries contain:
0.5 grams (g) of protein
1.4 g of fat
13.2 g of carbohydrate
4.7g of sugar
4 g of fiber
10 milligrams (mg) of calcium
2.4 mg of iron
7 mg of magnesium
12 mg of phosphorus
88 mg of potassium
2 mg of sodium
1 mg of zinc
15.4 mg of vitamin C
1 micrograms (mcg) of folate DFE
70 IU of Vitamin A
1.44 mg of vitamin E
5.5 mcg of vitamin K
So, What Are Some of the Health Benefits of Cranberries? Let’s Tell you!
They Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Due to the high level of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries, they have been found to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The PACs stop certain bacteria from clinging to the urinary tract walls. The anti-clinging properties of proanthocyanidins prevent the bacteria from binding to the cells on the walls of the bladder, thus preventing the multiplication of bacteria and expelling them from the body through urine.
Studies also show that regular intake of cranberry juice can help prevent recurring UTIs in middle-aged and pregnant women. It is also useful in reducing the risk of UTI among women undergoing elective benign gynecological surgery. What’s more? Cranberry juice may even help in preventing pediatric urinary tract infection. However, cranberry juice is just a preventive measure and not a cure for UTIs.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Cranberry juice can help reduce the risk of heart-related diseases and aid good cardiovascular health. Cranberries can also decrease the chances of suffering from atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which the arteries are narrowed due to the build-up of fat, calcium, and cholesterol found in the blood. This obstructs the flow of oxygen-rich blood to various parts of the body and may lead to potentially fatal outcomes like heart attacks and strokes. The flavonoids present in cranberries have antioxidant properties that may decrease the threat of atherosclerosis. These compounds have been shown to delay and suppress the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) and beneficially stimulate the blood platelets for a healthier cardiovascular system.
Also, cranberries contain polyphenols which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Polyphenols prevent platelet build-up and reduce blood pressure, through anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Regular intake of cranberry juice has been found to stunt the development and spread of lung, breast, colon, prostate, and other cancers. This is because it contains a high amount of salicylic acid which can help reduce swelling, prevent blood clots, and eliminate tumors. These nutrients not only help slow tumor progression but also have a positive impact on prostate, liver, breast, ovarian, and colon cancers. The anti-tumor ability of cranberry juice is attributed to the presence of polyphenolic compounds within the fruit.
Oh yes! Cranberries are also great for your oral health. The proanthocyanidins in cranberries are responsible for this amazing feat. They simply prevent bacteria from binding to the teeth and may also prevent gum diseases!
Prevents Respiratory Infections
Research has shown that cranberry juice helps regress certain strains of haemophilus influenza, which you probably know as a common cause of ear and respiratory infections in children. Fortunately, cranberry inhibits the bacteria’s hair-like structures, preventing them from attaching to the surface of the skin
You probably won’t need to hit the drugstore the next time you come down with a cold. Fresh cranberry juice is effective in fighting infections. It cures sore throats and colds.
Aids Weight Loss
With obesity being one of the health issues the average human worries about, it simply is great news that cranberries work wonders with weight loss. Cranberry juice is rich in organic acids, which have an emulsifying effect on the fat deposits in our body. So, it is perfect for people who want to shed those extra pounds!
Scurvy is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C in an individual. Cranberries provide high levels of vitamin C, which is also vital for the body to produce collagen, the main component responsible for the healthy functioning of tissues. Bottom line is, cranberries provide you with all the vitamin C you need to send scurvy into exile.
Effective at Treating Lung Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory effects of cranberry juice have been proven to be effective against the inflammation caused in the lungs by the influenza virus. A substance called “nondialyzable material” or NDM present in cranberries prevents the influenza virus from sticking to the cells, hence preventing a flu infection. How convenient!
Stay Forever Young!
Cranberries are enriched with phytonutrients and antioxidants, which play a vital role in providing protection against the problems that develop with age, such as memory loss and lack of coordination. Cranberries have a range of therapeutic compounds that protect the cells from damage caused by unstable molecules (a.k.a free radicals). More like “free rascals” which contribute to aging. Regular consumption of cranberries makes the skin look younger and more supple.
This Is Why Cranberries Are Super
Cranberries are referred to as a “superfood” due to its amazing health benefits. These include relief from urinary tract infection (UTI), respiratory disorders, kidney stones, cancer, and heart diseases.
They`re also indispensable in preventing stomach disorders and diabetes, as well as gum diseases caused by dental plaque.
Cranberries are highly enriched with Phytonutrients, which have been found to prevent a wide range of health problems.
Cranberry juice is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and salicylic acid. It provides energy, protein, and carbohydrates. In terms of minerals, it contains calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and zinc. It also contains vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and vitamin K (phylloquinone).
Whew! No wonder it’s a superfood. You really don`t want to miss all these super benefits. So now you know why we love cranberries. I believe you will too, or perhaps you do already. Do tell someone about cranberries, and you should have some too.