Healthy Foods: Cranberries

Healthy Foods

Is there anything more perfect to mark the festive holiday season than cranberries? Yet they are so potent and full of goodness that it’s a shame that we’re limited to getting fresh ones only during the fall and winter months.

Cranberries are a good source of Vitamin C, Fiber, Manganese and Vitamin K but more importantly they are an excellent source for antioxidants, phytonutrients and other compounds that serve as antibacterial agents, antivirals and probiotics.

The proanthocyanidins found only in cranberries help prevent urinary tract infections, kidney stones, gastric ulcers and tooth decay by actually changing the cell membrane of the bacteria making it difficult for the bacteria to adhere to the gastrointestinal tract lining, the first step towards infection. Pterolstilbene and other polyphenols present have been proven to help fight cancer and lower LDL cholesterol. Cranberries also help to raise HDL cholesterol (the good stuff) and improve vascular function.

Because of their high level of antioxidant phenols, cranberries may just be the healthiest of all common fruits. Just 8 ozs. of cranberry juice daily showed marked improvement in all the above health benefits. But don’t limit yourself to juice alone, enjoy the cranberry sauces and relishes served as traditional side dishes with the turkey at Thanksgiving. You can freeze cranberries for use throughout the year or add dried ones to salads, sandwiches, snack mixes, nut breads, etc. Gobble them up and know you’ll be taking good care of yourself.