SUPERFOODS

Cranberries Are So Much More Than a Holiday Sauce!

Cranberry sauce is a traditional holiday dish. In fact, one survey showed cranberry sauce was served at more than 94 percent of Thanksgiving dinners. However, cranberries are so much more than a holiday dish! They are actually an incredible food to include in your SuperLife diet year-round. One of three fruits native to the North America (cranberries, blueberries, and Concord grapes), cranberries have been used by Native Americans as fabric dye, food, and healing medicine for centuries.

Health Benefits of Cranberries

Here are 10 reasons it’s worth the time to add the festive flavor of cranberry to your diet year-round:

  1. When you eat cranberries, your body gets a fair amount of vitamin C, which is why American whalers and mariners carried cranberries on their ships to prevent scurvy.
  2. Cranberry juice helps prevent and alleviate urinary tract infections. Cranberries contain two key substances that make this possible. First, they have quinic acid, which raises urinary acidity and keeps calcium stones from building in your body. Cranberries also have a natural antibiotic substance that keeps the urinary-tract-causing bacteria from adhering to your bladder walls, stopping infections before they start. NOTE: Commercial cranberry juice off the shelf will be too diluted and have way too much sugar to be effective. You can make your own juice with a juicer or buy organic condensed cranberry juice from online sources.
  3. The quinic acid in cranberries listed above also fights kidney stones. You have to eat small amounts of cranberries, however. Cranberries are high in oxalates, which actually encourage kidney stones in high amounts. In all things, balance.
  4. Cranberries have anthocyanin, a bioflavonoid (a type of plant pigments that fight free radicals in your body). This one also supports a pigment in the eye that builds night vision.
  5. Cranberries are antiviral and antifungal.
  6. The polyphenols in cranberries may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. More studies are needed, but cranberries’ anti-inflammatory properties seem to stop platelet build-up and reduce blood pressure.
  7. Cranberries help slow down tumor development in your body and fight several cancers including prostate, liver, breast, ovarian, and colon cancers.
  8. Cranberries promote oral health by preventing bacteria from adhering to your teeth, in the same way they prevent bladder infections. This helps keep cavities and gum disease from developing in your mouth.
  9. Cranberries are loaded, and I mean LOADED, with antioxidants, which fight disease and aging. With the exception of the infamous antioxidant-rich blueberry (cultivated blueberries have 9,019 total antioxidant capacity and wild varieties have 13,427), cranberries have more antioxidants (8,983), than any other fruit or vegetable.
  10. You get vitamin K from cranberries. The USDA National Nutrient Database reports that a one cup serving of cranberry juice contains 12.9 mcg of vitamin K, or 16 percent of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin K is critical for properly clotting your blood (so you don’t bleed out when you get a simple cut), for bone health, and so much more.

Don’t Get Caught Eating Sugar and Pesticides

While cranberry sauce is a traditional holiday dish, store-bought varieties are more than 30 percent sugar and will have a lot of unwanted additives and preservatives in them.  Additionally, the cranberries themselves are heavily treated with pesticides. Instead, make your sauce from scratch. It’s actually one of the easier sides and it lets you get all the benefits of cranberries.

If you can, buy organic cranberries from a local farmer or farmer’s market during the fall and winter when they are in season. You can buy extra and freeze them yourself. Otherwise, look for frozen organic cranberries at your local supermarket.

From there, use a recipe that only includes natural sweeteners (honey, dates, apple, etc) or try my superfood-infused version! It’s easy and incredibly nutritious!

Join the Conversation

What are your favorite recipes or tricks for adding whole cranberries into your diet? Share below!

Benefits of Cranberries

Resources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20943032

http://www.oceanspray.com/Products/Sauce/Jellied-Cranberry-Sauce-(1).aspx

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=112

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