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Cranberries, those little red bursts of color and flavor, first originated in America and found their way to the rest of the world through Europe. Native Americans used them for multiple purposes such as food, decoration and medicine. While the cranberry sauce is the first known dish in which these berries were used and probably it’s still most popular preparation, cranberries are today used in a variety of food preparations.
To know more about how to include cranberries in your daily diet, click here.
Low in calories – a whole cup of these berries adds less than 50 calories to your calorie intake -, cranberries are a powerhouse of energy and nutrients like fiber, manganese, copper, and Vitamins C, E and K. They are also a great source of valuable phytonutrients like phenolic acids and flavonoids that make these berries so significantly high in good food value.
Following are some of the reasons why you should treat your body to cranberries regularly:
Cranberries contain phytonutrients that work to fight inflammation in various parts of your body. Right from keeping your gums healthy and protecting your teeth to preventing arthritis and other disorders affecting your joints and limbs, and preventing heart reflux and stomach burn these anti-inflammatory properties of cranberries help keep your body functioning optimally.
While all members of the berry family have great antioxidant properties, cranberries top their list with their marvelous long list of antioxidants. They cleanse your system, eliminating harmful chemicals and toxins from your blood and also remove waste matter effectively. Research also shows that cranberries can reduce the risk of cancer since their detoxifying nature works on the elimination of free radicals and also reduce the impact of carcinogenic substances on your body.
Cranberries work on keeping your heart fit and functioning optimally through their potent combination of antioxidation and anti-inflammatory properties. They detoxify your body, cleansing it of all impurities and maintaining your blood pressure levels, while also working to regulate your blood cholesterol levels by improving their good elements and reducing bad cholesterol.
Studies around the world show a direct link between the regular consumption of cranberries and increased immunity levels. These berries contain an element called proanthocyanidins (PACs) that works on improving the functioning of your immune system, keeping you safe from common colds and allergies as well as more severe diseases.
Since ancient times, cranberries have been used to cure and even prevent urinary tract infections. Having an added advantage of being free of side-effects and chemicals, these natural solutions cleanse your urinary tract and ensure that no harmful infection-causing bacteria are allowed to hold on to its lining. Interestingly, they have a similar effect in your stomach, preventing stomach ulcers.
There is growing evidence that supports links between consumption of these berries and a reduced risk of occurrence of kidney stones.
Recommended daily amounts of cranberries come to approximately one cup, and contribute to your required daily intake of fruits.
Now that you know the various health benefits of cranberries, you will reach out for a carton of cranberry juice. But that’s where you’re making a mistake – processed cranberry juice actually does you more harm than good since it contains sugar and additives and significantly decreased amounts of nutrients, including fiber, making it actually an unhealthy food item.
The best way to eat cranberries is either in their fresh or dried forms. Since cranberries are an autumn fruit, and available only from October to December, it is best to stick to the dried varieties as these provide equal amounts of nutrition and are more easily available around the year. You can munch on these by themselves or add them to your smoothies, breakfast oats or cereals, yoghurt, desserts, etc. to enhance the food value of these preparations.
For more information on the super powers of cranberries, click here.
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