Cranberries are a staple when it comes to Thanksgiving celebrations. There are a variety of ways to enjoy this delicious unique fruit, it can be transformed into a sauce or a drink, it can even be added into stuffing, casseroles, and desserts. These little guys are not only tasty but are also oozing with numerous health benefits. So, what are the benefits of cranberries? We’ve listed the top 5 health benefits of these magical fruits below.
- Rich in Vitamins and Mineral
Cranberries have a copious amount of vitamins and minerals in them, especially vitamin C. Some of these include:
Vitamin C: Cranberries have around 7.7 mg of vitamin C which is vital when it comes to maintenance of your skin, muscles, and bone.
Manganese: Cranberries have around 3.5 mg of manganese. It is essential for growth, metabolism, and your body’s antioxidant system.
Vitamin E: Cranberries have around 0.72 mg of Vitamin E. It is a class of essential fat-soluble antioxidants.
Vitamin K1: Cranberries have around 2.74 mcg of vitamin K1. It is a key component in helping with blood clotting.
Copper: Cranberries have around 0.06 mg of copper. In the Western diet, copper is typically on the low side. Low levels of copper can have an adverse effect when it comes to heart health.
- Urinary Tract Infections
Cranberries are well known for their ability in preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). They have an abundant amount of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs) which helps prevent certain bacteria from clinging to the urinary tract walls. Due to this, PACs have also been known to help stop the infection. According to research at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Houston, they found that cranberry capsules and cranberry juice may have very different effects. It takes a very high concentration of cranberry to prevent bacterial adhesion which will not be found in cranberry juice. When dealing with UTIs, it’s important to take cranberry capsules due to their high concentration of cranberry, which will be able to fight off bacteria.
- Improvement in Digestion
Cranberries are filled with fiber —one cup has around 5.3 grams of fiber. One of the key components when it comes to a healthy digestive system is packing our diets with fiber, which helps maintain regular bowel movements. Fiber is also known to help keep us stay fuller longer which can prevent us from mindlessly snacking on processed foods. Cranberries can also reduce bile acids in the gut which has been associated with colon and gastrointestinal cancers.
- They May Help Prevent Gum Disease
Cranberries can help keep your mouth healthy and clean. They are also known to aid in the prevention of harmful acids in your mouth. They do this by decreasing the amount of bacteria you make and reduce its ability from sticking to your teeth. This can help prevent cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, and even oral cancer.
- They May Prevent Stomach Cancer and Ulcers
Did you know that stomach cancer is a very common cause of cancer-related deaths all over the world? Stomach cancer, stomach inflammation, and ulcers have all been linked to infection caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Cranberries come to play in this because they have a special plant compound called A-type proanthocyanidins, which have been known to reduce the risk of stomach cancer. A-type proanthocyanidins can prevent Helicobacter pylori from attaching to the lining of your stomach. In one study, 189 adults proposed that just drinking 2.1 cups of cranberry juice daily, may significantly reduce H. pylori infections. In another study, 295 children drank cranberry juice for 3 weeks and found that it subdued the growth of H. pylori in about 17% of those infected.
What are you waiting for? Stop by your local store and stock up on cranberries!
If you are having trouble figuring out what to do with your cranberries, why not try out this recipe? One of our employees shared her family recipe for cranberry kompot which is a traditional drink found in many Eastern European countries. It’s easy to make and a great treat to bring to your Thanksgiving dinner!
Cranberry Apple Kompot
- 3-4 apples
- Fresh cranberries, 3/4 cup or less
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2.5qt of water
- Wash your apples and cranberries. Cut up your apples into 6-8 pieces.
- In a large pot, bring your water to a boil and then add your sugar. Reduce your heat to a simmer and add your apples and cranberries.
- Let this simmer for about 10-15 minutes, with a lid covering the pot.
- Turn off the heat and let the kompot cool. Once it is completely cool, you can transfer it into your pitcher.