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A versatile and nutrient-rich fruit, cranberries can be found in various dishes, from salads to desserts. However, a healthy way to enjoy the benefits of this tart and tangy berry is by adding it to your daily diet. Cranberries are a tart, tangy fruit that is an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Did you know that cranberries have the greatest antioxidant content of any fruit? That’s right: these amazing berries are packed with antioxidants that help protect cells from free radical damage and assist in the prevention of chronic illness. Cranberries should be on everyone’s grocery list for various reasons, including their capacity to lower inflammation throughout the body, increase immunity, and more.
Are you interested in learning more about this potent superfruit and how it might benefit your health? Here’s all you need to know about cranberries.
Cranberries’ Top 6 Health Benefits
- Infections of the Urinary Tract: Prevention and Treatment
- Inflammation is reduced.
- Could Aid in the Prevention of Certain Cancers
- Boost Your Immune System
- The Digestive Tract Will Benefit
- Heart Disease Risk is Reduced
1. Prevent and Treat Infections of the Urinary Tract
One of the most well-known cranberry advantages is its ability to treat urinary tract infections at home (UTIs). Because of the position of the urethra, UTIs are much more prevalent in women than in males. They may affect any section of the urinary system, although the bladder is the most often affected.
Urinary tract infections are estimated to cause roughly 7 million doctor visits in the United States alone each year. The infection causes frequent, urgent, or painful urinating and stomach discomfort, and blood in the urine. The bacterium Escherichia coli (or E. coli) is the most common cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs).
The fruit of the cranberry is considered to contain chemicals that inhibit germs from adhering to the inner surface of the urinary system or bladder. To help avoid urinary tract infections, many health practitioners suggest drinking one to two glasses of 100 percent pure, unsweetened, or barely sweetened cranberry juice every day. According to studies, women who consume cranberry juice on a regular basis had fewer symptoms of urinary tract infections.
Antibiotics have a bevy of negative side effects, including yeast infections, digestive difficulties, and antibiotic resistance. Cranberry juice, pills, and tablets are effective alternatives. Cranberry juice, capsules, or tablets were compared to a placebo or water to prevent UTIs in a range of demographics. The findings revealed that cranberry products decreased the overall incidence of UTIs by 35% over 12 months. They also reduced the yearly incidence of new infections in women with recurrent UTIs by 39%.
2. Reduction of Inflammation
Many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, autoimmune disease, cancer, diabetes, and others, are caused by inflammation. Fortunately, anti-inflammatory foods like cranberries, which are high in antioxidants, may help naturally reduce inflammation.
Antioxidants are chemicals present in foods that have bright hues, such as cranberries’ dark red color or blueberries’ rich blue/purple color. Because of their antioxidant content, all berries may help combat free radicals, but cranberries are one of the best sources.
When the body’s immune system goes into overdrive to cleanse the body of toxins brought on by a poor diet, pollution, or other reasons, inflammation may result. A diet deficient in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances leads to an excess of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are a sort of molecule that may accumulate in cells over time, producing inflammation and oxidative damage. They also increase the risk of chronic illness. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods like cranberries is a simple method to combat free radicals and reduce inflammation.
3. Aids in the Prevention of Certain Cancers
According to research, cranberries have cancer-fighting chemicals that may help inhibit the formation of breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer cells. Cranberries have been shown in both human and animal studies to help delay tumor development and stop cancer cells from growing. In addition, cranberries’ powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities may help to reduce the incidence of several of the most prevalent malignancies. As a result, they’re regarded as cancer-fighting foods.
4. Boost Your Immune System
Cranberry extract has been shown in several studies to boost many elements of immune function and may even reduce the frequency of cold and flu symptoms. Cranberries have significant quantities of proanthocyanidins, which assist the body’s immune system in fighting sickness and disease. These potent polyphenols can nourish the gut lining, which houses the bulk of the immune system.
One of the most important properties of cranberry juice is its ability to prevent dangerous germs from gathering and multiplying in the gut lining. Healthy, immune-boosting bacteria may flourish as a result, forming formidable protection against disease and infection.
Cranberries are also high in vitamin C, with a one-cup serving providing roughly 24% of the daily required intake. Vitamin C can help boost your immunity. In fact, research suggests that it may help to alleviate symptoms and minimize the duration of illnesses such as pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea.
5. Good for Your Digestive Tract
Cranberries have diuretic qualities that are cleaning, anti-diarrheal, anti-septic, and detoxifying. They assist in the elimination of toxins and accumulation and the relief of water retention and bloating.
According to a new study, cranberries’ advantages aid in maintaining a healthy bacterial balance throughout the digestive system. Cranberries work in a similar way to probiotics found in kombucha, kefir, and yogurt in creating a healthy “gut flora” environment.
Cranberries have clear digestive health advantages due to the fruit’s ability to regulate germs in the body. This inhibits the development of dangerous “bad” bacteria while promoting the growth of helpful bacteria. This soothes symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, and stomach acid and improves immunity and nutrition absorption by supporting the gut microbiome’s health.
6. Lower the Chances of Heart Disease
Studies have shown Cranberries to have a range of heart-health advantages, including the capacity to prevent blood clotting, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation.
In one research, consuming low-calorie cranberry juice was shown to lower numerous heart disease risk variables, including blood pressure, lipid levels, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Another study suggests that cranberries and cranberry juice may assist persons with heart disease to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, improve “good” HDL cholesterol, and avoid artery stiffness.
Nutritional Values of Cranberries
Cranberries have an incredible quantity of phytonutrients for such a tiny amount of calories and sugar, and almost no fat or salt. Many of these phytonutrients have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.
In addition, cranberries are high in fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and a variety of other vital minerals. A cup of chopped, uncooked cranberries (about 110 grams) contains roughly:
- calorie count: 50.6
- carbs (13.4 g)
- Protein: 0.4 gram
- fat 0.1 gram
- Fiber (5.1 g)
- Vitamin C (14.6 milligrams) (24 percent DV)
- Manganese, 0.4 milligrams (20 percent DV)
- vitamin E 1.3 milligrams (7 percent DV)
- Vitamin K (5.6 micrograms) (7 percent DV)
- Vitamin B6 0.1 milligram (3 percent DV)
- pantothenic acid, 0.3 mg (3 percent DV)
- Potassium: 93.5 milligrams (3 percent DV)
- 0.1 gram of copper (3 percent DV)
Cranberries include many vitamins and minerals, but they also have a lot of phytonutrients. Cranberries include some of the most potent phytonutrients and antioxidants, including:
- Anthocyanins – Anthocyanins are a kind of antioxidant found in cranberries that may help the body fight free radicals. It has been demonstrated in medical trials to help with weight loss, cholesterol reduction, and breast cancer prevention.
- Quercetin – Possibly the most potent phytonutrient in this fruit, quercetin has been shown to reduce allergies, improve joint discomfort, and reduce vascular inflammation.
- Benzoic acid has strong antibacterial effects. It is the key ingredient in cranberries that helps prevent infection and kill germs, making it a natural treatment for urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and even acne.
- Epicatechins are phytonutrients that may also be found in green tea and red wine. Heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease have all been demonstrated to be treated with them.
Traditional Medical Applications
Cranberries have been used in traditional medicine for a long time and are thought to help with many diseases.
Native Americans traditionally utilized cranberries to control bleeding, improve digestive health, and cure illnesses such as urinary tract infections. Cranberries were a mainstay in the diet and were often used in spiritual rites. They were also gathered for their vibrant colors, which were then used to dye garments.
On the other hand, Cranberries are reused in Ayurvedic medicine to halt diarrhea, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the liver. They also work as a natural diuretic, flushing toxins and fluid from the body, encouraging regularity, and relieving bloating.
Cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries
Three of the most frequent berry kinds include cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries. They’re all famous because of their distinct tastes and nutritional profiles. But, although they have certain similarities, many distinctions distinguish these three.
Blueberries and cranberries are closely related and belong to the same plant genus. The stems, leaves, and flowers of the two plants, as well as the two distinct fruits they produce, are all different. Raspberries, on the other hand, are linked to other berries such as dewberries and blackberries and belong to the rose family.
In terms of flavor, cranberries are somewhat sour and tart, but blueberries are significantly sweeter. Raspberries are delicious, but they have a faint acidity that sets them apart from other fruits. Furthermore, whereas raspberries and blueberries are often consumed fresh, cranberries are usually dried or utilized in baked dishes to capitalize on their distinct taste.
Antioxidants, as well as vital minerals like vitamin C and fiber, are abundant in all three. They’re also quite adaptable and may be used in a variety of ways. To optimize the vast range of possible health advantages found in each, incorporate a healthy balance of all three in your diet, along with a variety of other fruits and vegetables.
What to Look for and How to Use
The cranberry tree is a North American native. Today, it is grown on around 40,000 acres in the northern United States and Canada. Cranberries are widely utilized in American, European, and Middle Eastern cuisines, and dried cranberries may be obtained all around the globe.
The cranberry plant is a large commercial crop in a variety of places, but the fruit is particularly popular during the holiday season. Many people are aware that it is used in many classic Thanksgiving side dishes in the United States. Fresh cranberries are generally available in the fall since they are picked around September and October. Cranberries are utilized in many Thanksgiving and holiday meals because of this. During the late autumn and early winter, they are most commonly available and fresh.
Look for fresh, plump cranberries with a rich red hue when selecting the finest cranberries. The fruit’s distinctive crimson color suggests a greater concentration of the beneficial anthocyanin chemicals. They should also have a solid feel to them, since stiffness may suggest high quality.
Cranberries come in 12-ounce bags or may be purchased fresh and kept in an airtight container. Dried cranberries may be found at almost every grocery shop. Look for dried fruit or nuts at the grocery store.
Cranberries may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two months or frozen for later use. Cranberries may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 20 days and frozen for up to three years. It’s a good idea to look for frozen cranberries at grocery shops since they’re usually available at lower costs and even in organic versions.
Cranberries are available fresh, completely cooked, or dried. Cranberries seem to provide the most prominent health advantages when eaten fresh, however, any mode of consuming whole cranberries typically delivers significant benefits. Just make sure they aren’t too processed or loaded with sugar, as they are in a lot of pre-packaged items and sweets.
Cranberries are often transformed into juices, canned sauces, sugary jams, and sweetened dried cranberries. While this makes them handier, it also reduces their nutritious value and increases their sugar level. Cooking your cranberries from home is a far healthier option. This helps you to receive the most nutrients while avoiding too much sugar.
There are several ways to include this nutrient-dense fruit into your regular diet. For starters, dried cranberries may be added to a variety of other health-promoting nuts and seeds to make a DIY trail mix. Dried cranberries may also be added to salads, grain-free or sprouted grain cereals, smoothies, or oatmeal for a boost of antioxidants and minerals.
Make sauces or baked items like muffins, pies, and cobblers using fresh cranberries. Although cooked cranberries offer several health advantages, they retain the most nutrients and flavor when consumed fresh, enabling you to get the full benefits of cranberry juice.
Dosage, pills, and supplements
Cranberry tablets and capsules are often used to treat problems like urinary tract infections naturally. Why? They aid in the removal of microorganisms and give immediate relief from symptoms.
Cranberry tablets have been investigated in quantities ranging from 500 to 1,500 mg per day, despite the fact that there is no official suggested dosage. They’ve been demonstrated to help cure and prevent urinary tract infections.
Look for a product that has a significant amount of proanthocyanidins. Many of the possible health advantages are attributed to proanthocyanidins, which are one of the active chemicals in cranberry tablets. Aim for a proanthocyanidin content of at least 25%, or around 36 milligrams per serving.
Finally, read the contents list carefully and avoid goods that have additional fillers or unnecessary components to ensure that you obtain the greatest quality possible. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns or are experiencing any adverse effects to identify the best course of action for you.
Because early European immigrants in the United States thought the developing bloom, stem, calyx, and petals resembled the neck, head, and beak of a crane bird, the term “cranberry” was coined. Cranberries were dubbed “bearberries” in 17th century New England because bears were often spotted eating them.
Native Americans were the first to eat cranberries in North America. The fruit may have been brought by the Algonquian people to the Massachusetts settlers, who later included it in their Thanksgiving feasts.
Cranberries were said to have been widely used even in early Native American times for their digestive benefits and capacity to prevent infections and illness.
Raw cranberries have been advertised as a “superfood” since the early twenty-first century due to their high nutritional content and antioxidant properties. Around 1816, an American Revolutionary War soldier named Henry Hall is credited with being the first to cultivate cranberries in the Cape Cod town of Dennis, Massachusetts.
Cape Cod districts are still well-known for growing vast quantities of fresh cranberries, which are then distributed all over the globe. Cranberries often grow on low, creeping bushes or vines that reach a height of seven to eight feet. Cranberry vines contain little evergreen leaves and short, wiry stems that are not heavily woody.
Side Effects and Risks
Before adding cranberries to your diet, chat to your doctor if you’re on the blood-thinning medicine Warfarin (also known as Coumadin). According to some studies, cranberries may help the medicine work better in the body. In reality, multiple reports of individuals experiencing increased bleeding due to suspected cranberry eating while on Warfarin have been documented.
Because of the increased oxalate excretion in the urine, consuming large quantities of cranberry products may accelerate the development of kidney stones. Cranberries are one of just a few foods that contain oxalates, which are naturally occurring compounds found in plants and animals. Despite the fact that cranberries contain a small number of oxalates, they may increase the amount of both oxalates and calcium in the urine, resulting in pee with higher calcium oxalate concentrations.
Another major question is whether or not dogs can eat cranberries. While cranberries are usually considered healthy for your pets, it’s advisable to limit their consumption to minimize gastric upset. In addition, stay away from processed cranberry products that may include grape juice or raisins, since these substances are hazardous to dogs.
- Cranberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents of any fruit. They are also high in vitamin C, manganese, and fiber, among other key vitamins and minerals.
- Cranberries may reduce inflammation, increase immunity, prevent and cure urinary tract infections, benefit the digestive system, lessen the risk of heart disease, and perhaps even help prevent some types of cancer.
- Anthocyanins, quercetin, benzoic acid, and epicatechins are some of the most potent antioxidants found in cranberries.
- Although cooked cranberries offer several health advantages, fresh cranberries retain the most nutrients and flavor. To enhance the nutritional content and health benefits of this wonderful superfruit, add them to trail mix, salads, smoothies, and cereals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are cranberry supplements good for?
A: Cranberry supplements are good for digestion. They can also prevent urinary tract infections and bladder issues, so some recommend taking them regularly as a preventative measure.
Do cranberry supplements work?
A: Some cranberry supplements can have benefits, and most people find that they’re helpful when taken before or during a period of increased risk for urinary infections. Cranberries contain beneficial chemicals called proanthocyanidins which may reduce the effects of bacteria in your body by inhibiting their ability to stick to cells, walls, and other surfaces.
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