Cranberries are far more than just a tart, delicious fruit perfect for making jelly, juice or dried treats. The active plant compounds in cranberries have a plethora of health benefits. Plus, they’re available fresh in the fall and wintertime, making them an excellent sour-sweet staple to get you through the colder months of the year.
Antioxidant Superfood – Antioxidants help defend your body from free-radical damage and fight inflammation which can lead to or exaggerate many different forms of disease and degenerative conditions. In terms of antioxidant content, cranberries out-perform nearly every other fruit and vegetable – only blueberries are more potent.
Vitamin C and Fiber – Both of these dietary nutrients are important to healthy bodily function. Vitamin C promotes strong immune system health, while dietary fiber encourages everything from digestive health to cardiovascular benefits. Cranberries are packed with these nutrients – and contain only 45 calories per cup!
Anthocyanins – These Phytonutrients are strongest in bright red fruits such as cranberries. These compounds give cranberries (and other bright-red fruits) their color. The more direct sunlight a fruit receives, the more Anthocyanins will be present. Cranberries are often grown and harvested in bogs.
While this was originally done simply for convenience, we now know that the floating cranberries get much more UV light exposure than when they’re picked right off the plant – increasing their Phytonutrient content significantly.
UTI’s and Ulcers – While the efficacy of cranberries in regards to bacterial infections is still being debated, a particular unique Phytonutrient called Proanthocyanidin hinders the process by which certain bacteria strains attach to the stomach wall or the lining of your urinary tract. This preventative action helps cut down on the occurrence and severity of bacterial infections to these regions.
Cranberries make a great organic juice, and excellent flavor additive to your chicken or pork dishes, and can even be eaten raw or dried, either by themselves or added to a healthy trail mix.