Cranberries: Health and Nutrition Benefits Health
We tend to eat a lot of treats during the holidays, but there’s one food that’s extra popular this time of year that’s actually good for you. Behold five health benefits of the mighty cranberry.Cranberries are native to our Atlantic provinces, where they are known as “marsh apples” to some. But they grow in other parts of Canada, too; in fact, of all our provinces, B.C. exports the most cranberries by far, followed by Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia. (This country is the world’s second-largest exporter of cranberries, after the U.S.) The cranberry plant is an evergreen vine that likes wet soil, preferably sand and peat, which is why the fields are often called “cranberry bogs.”
Antioxidant powerhouse :-
This disease-fighting fruit is one of the highest ranking, regularly consumed foods for antioxidant content per serving, according to the Cranberry Marketing Committee. Antioxidants protect cells from the damage that oxidative stress and free radicals can have on themThat damage can lead to serious conditions like cancer and heart disease.Some of the antioxidants found in cranberries include anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, resveratrol, selenium, and vitamins A, C and E.
Low-calorie flavor booster :-
One cup of fresh cranberries contains 46 calories, according to the USDA. If you like them raw, they’re a great low-calorie snack — but their tart flavor makes them an acquired taste.
Use them in cooking and baking to add a pop of flavor while not adding a lot of calories, as in these recipes:
- Hazelnut-Cranberry Stuffing
- Orange-Cranberry Muffins with Pecans
- Apple Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberry Bread
- Cranberry Infused Vodka
High in fiber :-
One cup of cranberries contains 4.6 grams of dietary fiber. The Mayo Clinic says fiber maintains bowel health, lowers cholesterol, and helps control blood sugar. Foods high in fiber can also help control weight because they make you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
Full of vitamins and minerals :-
ne cup of cranberries contains 24 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and 7 percent of the recommended daily values of vitamins K and E, according to Self Nutrition DataIt’s also a good source of the mineral manganese, containing 20 percent of the recommended daily value.Keep in mind that these benefits are for fresh cranberries, not dried cranberries. While dried cranberries retain many of these benefits, most commercially dried cranberries contain added sugar to make them more palatable.
Benefits of the Cranberry :-
- Cranberries are a rich source of the flavonoid quercetin which can inhibit the development of both breast and colon cancers.
- Preliminary studies show that drinking cranberry juice is good for the health of the heart.
- Research indicates that cranberries are an excellent source of antioxidants which may protect against cancer, heart disease and other diseases.
- Found to decrease production of cavity and plaque producing bacteria in your mouth.
- Also found to reduce the bacteria associated with peptic stomach ulcers.
- In clinical studies, cranberries have been shown to help maintain a healthy urinary tract.
- Cranberries are especially beneficial to the eyes (they significantly improve symptoms of cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy).
- Evidence on how cranberry juice fights bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.
Some evidence suggests that the polyphenols in cranberries may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure via anti-inflammatory mechanisms.4
Research has shown that cranberries are beneficial in slowing tumor progression and have shown positive effects against prostate, liver, breast, ovarian, and colon cancers.5
The same proanthocyanidins in cranberries that help prevent UTIs may also benefit oral health by preventing bacteria from binding to teeth, according to Researchers at the Center for Oral Biology and Eastman Department of Dentistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Cranberries may also be beneficial in preventing gum diseas.
Nutritional breakdown of cranberries :-
Vitamin C – a powerful natural antioxidant capable of blocking some of the damage caused by free radicals, as well as boosting the body’s resistance against infectious agents, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Sailors once carried cranberries aboard their ships to avoid scurvy because of their high vitamin C content.
Fiber– According to the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program of the University of Kentucky, high fiber intakes are associated with significantly lower risks for developing coronary heart disease, stroke,hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.
Vitamin E – a fat-soluble antioxidant involved in immune function that may help prevent or delay the chronic diseases associated with free radicals.2Cranberries also contain vitamin K, manganese and a large array of phytonutrients, naturally occurring plant chemicals that help to protect the body from harmful free radicals and offer anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventing properties.1
Potential precautions :-
You may want to steer clear of a high intake of cranberries if you take the blood-thinning drug warfarin, also known as coumadin. There has been conflicting evidence on the potential for cranberries to enhance the drug’s effect on the body. Several cases of increased bleeding due to suspected interactions with cranberry juice and warfarin have been reported.Cranberry products may increase urine oxalate excretion, which could promote the formation of kidney stones.5Individuals with a history of kidney stones should talk to their healthcare provider before including any forms of cranberries in their diet.1