Cranberries Explained: A Healthy Superfood Not Just for Thanksgiving!
Table of Contents
- What Are Cranberries?
- Cranberry Juice Explained
- Cranberry Benefits For UTI’s Explained
- Cranberry Benefits For Inflammation Explained
- Cranberries For Immune Boost Explained
- Cranberries For Digestion Explained
- Cranberries Are Full of Fiber
- Cranberries For Heart Health Explained
- Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?
Everyone knows that thanksgiving feeling. The warm fireplace and joyful laughter of friends and family are only enhanced by a well set table, huge turkey portions and of course cranberries!
Cranberries are a well-loved healthy and nutritious treat all around the world. They can be experienced raw, juiced or in a compote/sauce.
These tasty morsels have been hailed as a super-food for quite some time now. It’s no surprise that we still love them this much today. In fact, it would appear our passion for cranberries has only grown in recent years based on the amount of raw cranberries and cranberry-based products on sale today.
Cranberries are said to be native to North America which is great news for us living in good old USA. They are a healthy all-american snack that does a lot for our health. For as small as they are, cranberries pack a powerful punch!
Like blueberries, mulberries, and goji berries, cranberries are full of healthy nutrients. In this article, we will look at the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content, as well as various health benefits of this amazing berry.
Cranberries contain natural anti-inflammatory agents. This is great to maintain overall health and wellness. They are also a possible natural treatment option for UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections).
The likelihood that you’ve encountered cranberries in some form or another is quite high. I don’t assume you’re someone who knows nothing about how they work or what they taste like. However, it pays to further explore and learn more about them in order to maximize their full potential and increase their healing benefits.
What Are Cranberries? Where Do Cranberries Come from?
Cranberries are one of the few naturally occurring berries that are entirely native to Northern America and parts of Canada. However, they have been found occurring naturally in other parts of the world – such as Scotland.
The name ‘cranberries’ is derived from their original name – ‘craneberry’, due to how the plant and flower of the bush look on which the berry grows. The bushes of cranberries tend to grow in regions with higher altitudes and are therefore favored by colder climates. The plant has also been known to grow in the northern parts of Asia.
The bushes of cranberries contain ever-green leaves which help to create the wide amount of phytochemicals that can be found in cranberries.
Studies claim the rich amount of antioxidants contained within cranberries can be linked to the high intensity photosensitivity of these bushes. This helps give them the ability to turn natural sugars into vitamins, nutrients and minerals.
Today, most of the cranberries you eat in the US come from either Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Wisconsin. They are harvested through September and October, which makes autumn cranberry season.
The cranberry has been used as a form of food, medicine and as a dye in ancient north american cultures. It clearly still plays a central part in the dietary concerns of a modern generation. What’s a thanksgiving without cranberry sauce, or a good bowl of muesli without cranberries?
Cranberry Juice Explained: Does Juicing Cranberries Alter Their Health Benefits?
Cranberry juice has long been hailed as a powerful natural health tonic and for good reason. The juice of cranberries, albeit very sweet, is said to contain a wide variety of potent natural antioxidants that help to flush toxins and free radicals from your system.
Besides detoxing the blood, cranberry juice has been said to help with regards to treating UTI’s in both men and women – but I’ll get into that more a bit later.
It helps to coat the veins and prevent high blood pressure from occurring. It also gives you a much needed, healthy energy boost in the mornings when you need it most. However, many have claimed that cranberry juice is not the healthiest form of cranberries for a variety of reasons.
The first reason is because when anything is ‘juiced’, it may lose some of the phytonutrients and minerals that make it so healthy. Juicing is also usually done through a process of adding artificial sweeteners, colorants or other juice blends to the mix. Even without that, The rinds or fruit skins tend to be where the largest amount of phytonutrients are. Juicing can get rid of these nutrient dense parts of the fruit, and reduce the amount of nutrients you receive.
So, in short, pure or largely cranberry based fruit juice is still good for you. But the truth is that the large amount of sugar, plus the other additives tends to make the juice only a little bit healthier than a soft drink. It’s best to get a hold of whole cranberries and eat them ‘as is’ to receive the maximum health benefits this humble berry has to offer.
Cranberry Benefits for UTI’s Explained
UTI’s or Urinary Tract Infections are one of the most common health ailments we face today. It has been estimated that roughly 15 million people in the US alone contract a UTI each year, and 150 million worldwide.
Many are now starting to admit UTIs are more of a problem than they originally thought. One of the contributing factors appears to be the overuse of antibiotics and our growing resistance to them. Overusing antibiotics has been said to lead to a variety of health issues and ailments such as yeast infections, bacterial infections, disease, digestive issues and a weakened immune system overall.
So the search for an all-natural preventative measure and treatment is quite important. Some have claimed that cranberries are effective at treating, curing and ultimately preventing UTI infections.
Many are still in the process of trying to find adequate evidence to prove that this is indeed the case. However, research has shown that cranberry juice does help to flush out toxins that may lead to infection. Studies have also shown that cranberry juice can coat the veins and urethras internal lining. This makes it easier for liquids to pass through without the risk of bacteria and toxins causing infection.
However, more research will have to be conducted for us to know the exact effects and mechanisms of cranberries and how they work in our system.
You know how great this berry is if you’ve ever suffered from a hangover or the flu and drank a large bottle of pure cranberry juice.
Cranberry Benefits for Inflammation Explained
Inflammation can best be defined as irritation. It often manifests with redness, swelling, pain, tenderness or heat. This generally indicates a disturbed function within the body. Inflammation can also be due to damaging agents found in or on the tissue.
Inflammation can be a mild irritation that passes quickly and with relative ease. But it can also be something really serious that can cause lifelong pain and discomfort in the form of diseases. One example of this is arthritis.
In most cases, we’re prescribed a particular medication or treatment to help ease the pain of inflammation or to help relieve the symptoms of the issue. But in truth, they do little to help treat the cause of these symptoms. Due to that, most cases of inflammation tend to be a recurring or chronic issue.
As with every disease, the holistic approach to treatment advocates that we take a step back and review our lives as a whole. This helps us to identify the issues or factors that may be effecting our health. the most important thing to note when trying holistic forms of healing is that they’re best use as a preventative measure rather than a cure. Although they may be effective at curing health ailments, in reality they’re better suited to maintaining general health.
Cranberry juice has an amazing natural ability to help flush toxins out of the bloodstream . It also provides your body with a significant percentage of its much needed dietary fiber. This helps to control and reduce the amount of toxins in your system that lead to inflammation.
Cranberries For Immune Boost Explained
As you now know, cranberries are incredibly healthy for you and can do wonders for your overall health. They can also aid in treating more specific health ailments such as inflammation among others.
But what exactly makes this humble little berry such an awesome natural product in terms of treating our health?
That’s a question with a variety of answers. It depends on how and where the cranberry grows. This determines the various nutrients contained within. How they are prepared or served also has a large effect on the amount of nutrients you will obtain.
One thing remains clear, cranberries are definitely called superfoods for good reason. To give you an idea of what I’m referring to, here’s a list of some minerals, vitamins and nutrients that can be found in an average serving of cranberries, roughly 55 grams.
The first thing worth noting is that they’re a great source of energy for people who are trying to lose weight. They only have 25 calories per 55 gram serving and only 0.07 grams of fat.
There is also 0.25 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 5 mg of calcium, 0.12 mg of iron, 3.5 mg of magnesium, 6 mg of phosphorous, 44 mg of potassium, 1mg of sodium, 0.05 mg of zinc, a wopping 7.7 mg of calcium, 0.5 mg of folate, 35 IU of vitamin A, 0.72 mg of vitamin E and 2.75 mcg of vitamin K.
This combination of nutrients, vitamins and minerals make cranberries almost as good as any multivitamin or health food supplement. When combined with a balanced, healthy natural diet, will work wonders for boosting your immune system.
Cranberries for Digestion Explained
Having a healthy and functioning digestive system is key for maintaining good health. It also ensures that your body functions at it’s best.
Modern research has suggested that nearly every ailment that we experience can be linked to germs and bacteria. They tend to form in our digestive system.
What we eat is very important in controlling, regulating or preserving our digestive systems. It will play a great role in determining our overall health over time.
— Univera, Inc. (@UniveraInc) November 8, 2017
Cranberries Are Full of Fiber
Foods with a high fiber content can play a vital role in allowing us pass waste products more easily. Cranberries are also a good source of folate, a very important mineral. They are generally added to foods that contain nuts and whole grains which helps in healthy and normal digestive functions.
Cranberries help to flush out toxins and bacteria and are also a good alternative for energy for people who are sensitive to carbohydrates such as breads and rye grains or yeast.
I generally enjoy adding a few tablespoons of cranberries to my breakfast oats or muesli. I also just enjoy snacking on these tasty berries by themselves throughout the day. They help ensure that I keep my bowels in check without the risk of gaining weight.
A healthy gut makes for a happy person and treating your gut and digestive system is a lot easier than we may assume it is. Simply sticking to a good diet and being careful to avoid foods that irritate your gut help keep you healthy. Shedding water weight through exercise is also a key part of staying in shape.
Cranberries for Heart Health Explained
We may not think about it often, but our heart is one of the most crucial organs in our body. It’s only when it starts to have issues that we realize and appreciate this very important reality. So it’s imperative that we do what we can to ensure that our hearts are as healthy as possible. Eating high fiber breakfasts such as oatmeal, and sprinkling cranberries on top is a great way to do that.
Many people are unaware of the fact that cranberries can be one of nature’s most powerful health foods. Recent studies have shown that they’re incredibly effective at promoting heart health. Cranberries can help improve flow-mediated vasodilation. This is connected to blood pressure levels as well general heart health. It is just one of the ways that cranberries can help your heart. This can even help improve scalp health.
Basically, the better your veins can carry the blood to the heart, the better the heart can pump.
Cranberry juice is that it’s a really powerful tool in aiding or treating the signs of high cholesterol levels. This is one of the leading causes of heart disease these days.
By drinking 2-3 cups of average 23% cranberry juice everyday, researchers managed to increase a test subject’s high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol count by 121%. It also decreased the body’s low density lipoprotein count.
HDL is the ‘good cholesterol’ our body needs to stay healthy and keep our heart pumping. LDL is the ‘bad cholesterol’ that we need to keep in check to avoid heart disease.
By drinking cranberry juice, not only will you help to reduce LDL levels, but raise HDL levels in your blood within the first month.
Can Dogs Eat Cranberries? Are Cranberries Bad for Dogs?
When it comes to feeding your pooch cranberries, it’s best to take caution as their stomachs are a lot more sensitive than ours. Giving them too much of something (or the wrong thing in the first place) can cause them harm or discomfort.
In truth, I don’t feed my pooch fruits and berries as much as I do vegetables. They tend to enjoy vegetables with meat a lot more than the sweeter natural treats. But hey, every dog is different.
So I’ve found that roughly 1 or 2 tablespoons of cranberries a day is enough for my dog. It can help to ease its digestive issues as well as give them an energy boost. They can actually make great energy boosting treats.
However, certain dogs may suffer from allergies to cranberries, so it’s best to monitor your dog’s health and reaction for a few hours. This will ensure that they don’t have any adverse reactions or symptoms as a result of the berries. Take them to the vet if they start to have any negative side-effects such as vomiting, coughing, wheezing, drooling excessively or have diarrhea. In most cases, the symptoms will never be this severe, but it’s best to keep an eye out just in case.
Ultimately, no breakfast or brunch time snack would be complete without cranberries. How often do you find something that is not only healthy yet scrumptious and delicious at the same time? I’ll tell you that it’s quite rare in my experience.
Try drinking 2-3 cups of cranberry juice a day and eating as much of it as you can. This will help save time, money and help keep you feeling healthy and full of energy