Crazy about Cranberries!
It’s no coincidence that the holiday season will soon be adorned by the delightfully festive cranberry. Peak harvest season for cranberries generally begins in November and runs through December. This ruby red treasure makes its appearance just in time for holiday meals. Cranberries are considered one of those traditional foods that are invited into so many homes during special festivities.
There are many reasons why you may want to consider enjoying them year round. Cranberries are truly a super star when it comes to antioxidant power! Only blueberries outshine in this arena.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
-Cranberries are a superb source of flavonoids (anthocyanins, flavonols, proanthocyanidins)
-Cranberries are an outstanding source of phenolic acids
-Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C (½ cup provides 11% of the daily recommended amount)
-Cranberries are a great source of fiber (½ cup provides 1.6 grams)
-Cranberries are deliciously low-calorie (½ cup is only 23 calories)
-Cranberries may decrease the risk of hardening of the arteries due to their flavonoids (cranberries contain 3!)
.-Cranberries are known for their role in preventing urinary tract infections ( due to the high level of proanthocyanidins that helps reduce the adhesion of certain bacteria to the urinary tract walls, in turn fighting off infections)
-Cranberries and Cancer: Research has shown that cranberries are beneficial in slowing tumor progression and have shown positive effects against prostate, liver, breast, ovarian, and colon cancers
-Cranberries may have a part in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (the polyphenols prevent platelet buildup and reduces blood pressure by their anti-inflammatory mechanisms)
-Cranberries can be beneficial to dental health (the identical 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 are available year round!
Frozen cranberries can be enjoyed all year long. Fresh cranberries are making their appearance now and keep well if placed in a tightly sealed bag and stored in the refrigerator. Inspect them carefully and remove any spoiled, decayed or bruised cranberries prior to storage. All it takes is one bad cranberry to quickly spoil the entire bunch (there’s a little lesson in there!)
Color your world with cranberries
There are so many delectable ways to enjoy this crimson treasure!
-Dried cranberries are delicious on cereal
-Bake their goodness into your favorite healthy muffin or cookie recipe
-Cranberries compliment chicken dishes
-Cranberry juice (make sure it is 100% juice with no added sugar)
-Cranberries add bold color to any salads (dried or fresh)
-If you are on blood-thinning medication, such as Coumadin; you should avoid cranberries due to potential side effects.
-Cranberries may increase oxalates and should be avoided by anyone having kidney stones
-Always discuss the addition of cranberries to your diet with your medical health care team if you are on prescription medication or have special dietary needs.