Cranberries mainly grow in the cooler regions of the world such as Europe, Canada, and the United States. The scientific name for Cranberries is Vaccinium macrocarpon. Cranberries are small, red berries that have a tart taste. These berries are loaded with antioxidants and many essential nutrients. The Cranberry plant is considered a creeping shrub, or vine, usually running up to 2 m long and 10 to 20 cm in height. It has a slender, not so thick, woody stem bearing small evergreen leaves. Most Cranberries are water-harvested, which means that the cranberries are grown in bogs and floated in water to allow for easier harvesting. The Cranberry industry for many years has looked at water-harvesting of cranberries as a convenience, with the process of water-harvesting being so simple that the berries are floating on the surface of the water. Cranberries have also been referred to as “bounce berries,” because ripe ones will bounce. The reference to Cranberries is a poetic allusion to the fact that their pale pink blossoms looks a little like the heads of the cranes that frequent Cranberry bogs.
Fresh cranberries are at their peak from October through December containing the highest levels of beneficial nutrients. There are many health benefits of Cranberries, which makes sense to add them as a part of your daily diet. To get the great benefits of Cranberries by just eating the fresh berries, drink the juice, or taking them as a supplement.
Benefits of Easting Cranberries
Eating Cranberries is very healthy because they have vitamin C and fiber, with only 45 calories per cup. Cranberries outrank nearly every other fruit and vegetable in disease-fighting antioxidants. Yes, that’s including strawberries, cherries, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and even spinach. Cranberries are also a great source of vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, ß-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, manganese, folate and minerals like potassium.
Drinking Cranberry juice can help block urinary tract infections. The juice contains proanthocyanidins, these proanthocyanidins help to keep E. coli bacteria from sticking to the uterus and bladder walls. One glass of juice a day is all you need to prevent and heal urinary tract infections.
Cranberries have been shown to be very good for the heart in several ways. One great aspect of Cranberries they can prevent plaque from forming on the arterial walls, which can lead to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. They can lower the bad cholesterol levels which may clog the arterial walls as well. Adding Cranberries to your diet will reduce the chances of a stroke or aid in recovery if you have suffered a stroke.
Since Cranberries are high in antioxidants they will help to flush out your system, you will lose weight due to these antioxidants improving the metabolism and digestive system.
With Cranberries containing citric acid and many other nutrients, this can prevent kidney stones, and other kidney and bladder issues.
Cranberry extracts have been proven to prevent breast cancer cells from multiplying. It has also been shown that eating cranberries may prevent other cancers such as colon, prostate and lung.
Not only are Cranberries good for the brain and help with memory, they can also be mood lifters by relieving stress, anxiety and depression.
Having Cranberries on a regular basis can help to avoid dental despairs such as gingivitis, gum disease, plaque build-up, and even cavities.
The antioxidants also work hard on those harmful toxins which suppress the immune system. Once the Cranberries help to remove these toxins your immune system will be healthier to help prevent any sickness or disease.
The antioxidants help in so many ways, by ridding your body of all the free radicals which contribute to the aging process. Not only will your skin to look younger, but your internal organs will have longer health.
Many skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema can all be healed with a simple change in your diet of Cranberries.
Ways of Eating Cranberries
Fresh Cranberries can be purchased in the fall and winter; however you can buy them frozen all year long. Storing fresh cranberries in a tightly-sealed plastic bag will last up to two months in the refrigerator for up to two months. When storing them remember to be careful and remove any soft and bad cranberries before you store them. If the cranberries are cooked they can only last about a month in a covered container in the refrigerator. Cranberries have a very short shelf life when kept at room temperature.
Try a few of these ideas to add these healthy antioxidants in your diet:
- For breakfast try adding fresh or dried Cranberries to your cereal or oatmeal.
- When making blueberry muffins, just add a few Cranberries for additional flavor and color.
- Enhance your main dishes of pork and chicken for a unique change.
- Have a daily glass of 100% Cranberry Juice.
- Eat raw, fresh, or dried Cranberries all alone as snacks.
- Spice up your salads whether a green or fruit salad.
- Cranberries are great as an extra in sorbets and fruit cocktails.
- Fillers for muffins, pie-fillings, breads, and ice creams.
- Get Cranberries in the form of sauces, jams, and jellies.
- Take fresh Cranberries and make your own juice at home with a juicer.
Cranberries are so beneficial to our health and bodies with so many ways to enjoy them, there is no reason not to start today, one Cranberry at a time.