Cranberries are fruits full of various nutrients and antioxidants. They can provide various health benefits when added to a balanced diet.
Cranberries are considered a superfood because of their high nutrient and antioxidant content.
Nutrient profile of cranberries
One-half cup of chopped cranberries contains:
- 25 calories
- 0.25 grams (g) of protein
- 0.07 g of fat
- 2 g of dietary fiber
- 6.6 g of carbohydrates (including 2.35 g of natural sugar)
- 44 milligrams (mg) of potassium
- 7.7 mg of vitamin C
- 6 mg of phosphorus
- 4.4 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 3.3 mg of magnesium
- 1.1 mg of sodium
- 0.12 mg of iron
- 0.05 mg of zinc
- 0.5 micrograms (mcg) of folate DFE
- 35 international units (iu) of vitamin A
- 2.75 mcg of vitamin K
- 0.72 mg of vitamin E
Cranberries also contain a range of vital B vitamins, such as:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B6
Cranberries are also a good source of vitamin C, a powerful, natural antioxidant.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin C can:
- Improve iron absorption from plant sources
- Boost the immune system
- Support collagen production for wound healing
- Prevent some of the damage caused by disease-causing free radicals
Health benefits of antioxidant-rich cranberries
Cranberries are a great source of nutrients and antioxidants and they can provide various health benefits when eaten as part of a balanced diet.
Cranberries are native to North America. Now, cranberries are grown across the northern United States, Canada and Chile.
Can help with UTIs
Cranberries are often used as traditional treatments for UTIs.
The high level of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries may help prevent certain bacteria from binding to the urinary tract walls. This suggests that PACs in cranberries may help prevent a urinary tract infection (UTI).
In a 2016 review, researchers found that medical professionals most commonly recommend cranberries for women with recurrent UTIs.
Another 2014 study of 516 participants revealed that taking a capsule of cranberry extract twice per day reduced the incidence of UTIs. (Related: Prevent urinary tract infections naturally with this antioxidant-rich superfood.)
May help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
According to a 2019 systematic review, supplementing cranberries in your diet may help you manage several risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). These include systolic blood pressure, which is the blood pressure during a contraction of the heart muscle.
The review also suggested that cranberry supplementation helped reduce body mass index (BMI) and improve levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol.
In another study from 2019, scientists examined 78 volunteers who were overweight or were obese. Their findings showed that consuming a single dose of a low-calorie cranberry beverage with a high content of plant compounds daily improved someone’s regulation of blood sugar, chemical signs of inflammation and increased levels of HDL lipoprotein.
May help slow cancer progression
A 2016 review of 34 preclinical studies showed that cranberries or compounds in cranberries had several beneficial effects on cancer cells in test tubes.
These benefits included reducing inflammation, slowing the growth of cancer cells and triggering the death of cancer cells.
The 2016 review also found that cranberries can affect several other mechanisms that promote cancer growth and spread.
Can help promote oral health
The PACs in cranberries may also benefit oral health. A 2019 study revealed that PACs in fruits like cranberries may help teeth against a strand of bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Cranberries may also help protect against gum disease.
How to incorporate cranberries into a balanced diet
Farmers harvest fresh cranberries in September and October, so fall is the best time to purchase them. If you want to get cranberries the rest of the year, they are also available dried, frozen, or canned.
Another option is to refrigerate fresh cranberries or freeze them for later use.
Here are some suggestions on how to incorporate cranberries into a balanced diet:
- Add dried cranberries to oatmeal or whole-grain cereal for breakfast.
- Make a homemade trail mix with unsalted nuts and seeds of your choice and dried cranberries.
- Add a small handful of frozen cranberries to a fruit smoothie.
- Add dried or fresh cranberries into a muffin or cookie recipe.
- Add dried cranberries to a salad.
- Include fresh cranberries in an apple dessert, such as pies, for extra flavor.
- Make molded cranberry sauce.
- Bake a cranberry-cherry cobbler pie.
- Make cranberry mulled white wine.
- Make cranberry-walnut shortbread bars.
Keep in mind that some store-bought cranberry products may contain added sugars because cranberries are quite tart and may be difficult to consume without some added sweetener.
Always check the ingredients label and choose the product with the least added sugar.
Store-bought cranberry juice may contain other fruit juices and added sweeteners. When looking for cranberry juice that offers the most benefits, check labels that lists cranberry as the primary ingredient.
Considerations before eating cranberries
Cranberries are usually safe to consume, but if you are taking the blood-thinning drug warfarin (Jantoven), discuss your intake of cranberries with your doctor. Data suggests that it may interact with warfarin or other blood thinners and cause increased anticlotting effects.
Cranberry products may also cause a higher excretion of oxalate in urine. This could promote the formation of kidney stones if you are susceptible to calcium oxalate-type stones.
If you have a history of kidney stones, talk to your healthcare provider before increasing their intake of cranberries.
Follow a balanced diet and add cranberries to salads or bake goods to boost your intake of vitamin C and various nutrients.
Watch this clip to learn about the benefits of cranberries.
This video is from the Natural News channel on Brighteon.com.
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