The cranberry is more than just a pretty, ruby colored berry that adds beauty to our Christmas tree. Cranberries are more than just a sweet, succulent sauce that garnishes our slice of holiday turkey. Cranberries, in fact, are loaded with antioxidants and other health benefits that prevent a multitude of health problems.
Cranberry Fast Facts:
- Cranberries have long been known to prevent urinary tract infections. The cranberry prevents these infections because of a chemical called proanthocyanidins that inhibit the adhesion of bacteria to the lining of the urinary tract. Proanthocyanidins prevent urinary tract infections from occurring and not the acidity boost in the urine as once was thought.
- Similarly, this adhesion inhibition phenomenon is proving to have positive effects in preventing the bacteria H. Pylori from causing gastric ulcer disease.
- Cranberries appear to reduce dental bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Studies showed a reduction of more than half of these bacteria after using a cranberry mouthwash. These preliminary findings are exciting and significant but researchers warn that more studies are needed. Further, cranberry juice is high in sugars and can’t be safely used as a mouth wash.
- Cranberries are packed full of antioxidants, specifically flavinoids. Flavinoids lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Therefore, cranberries are helpful in preventing atherosclerotic heart disease.
- Current anti-aging studies show that cranberries help to maintain both motor function and memory as we get older.
- Compounds in cranberries are preliminarily proving to reduce growth in breast cancer tumors. This is an exciting study with great potential but more research continues in this area.
The cranberry, in fact, is a charismatic little berry with a ton of exciting health benefits. So the next time you see the cranberry grace your table, dig in. Reap the health benefits of the cranberry by adding the ruby-reds into the meals you are already preparing. If you are baking, you can mix them in for a tart punch. Bake the forgotten berry with your other fruit favorites like apples and pears with a little sugar for a delicious treat that can be served as a side or as an added bonus on your morning oatmeal. Not in a cooking mood? No problem, the dried version of the red gem can be eaten straight from the pantry or added to your winter salad.
How are incorporating cranberries into your diet?
Read more from Jana at A Doctor and A Nurse!
Photo courtesy of muffet1 via sxu.hu