Who’s having cranberry sauce on their Thanksgiving table next week?? Well, if you raised your hand, you will be consuming one of the most amazing superfoods. Not only is this tiny berry one of the most vibrant berries around (I simply love them as decor during the holiday season), but they are chock full of healthy properties. It is well worth it to incorporate them into your year-round diet, given all the health benefits of cranberries.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
- Preventing Urinary Tract Infections – Probably best known for their health benefit to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections, countless women down cranberry juice throughout the year. But why? Cranberries are loaded with bioactive plant compounds including A-type proanthocyanidins, which are the key compound in preventing UTIs.
- Bolster Immunity – Cranberries are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, but are highest in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the maintenance of skin, muscle and bone. Want brighter skin?? Think cranberries in diet! Plus we all know that Vitamin C is critical in helping to stave off viruses or the common cold. An alternative to that glass of orange juice is a glass of cranberry juice to keep you staying healthy all winter long.
- Reduce the Risk of Stomach Cancer – That same bioactive plant compound, A-type proanthocyanidin, is key in reducing the risk of stomach cancer. How? It actually prevents H.pylori from attaching to the stomach lining, as demonstrated in studies of both women and children.
- Improving Heart Health – These tiny little berries are loaded with antioxidants that are good for the heart in countless ways. They reduce LDL, the bad cholesterol, while increasing HDL, the good cholesterol. They decrease arterial stiffness in patients with heart disease and they also decrease blood levels of homocysteine, which plays a major role in inflammation of the blood vessels. Finally, cranberries can help lower blood pressure. Amazing what those little red berries can do!
How to get more Cranberries in your diet
Cranberries can be consumed fresh, harvested in September and October, dried, canned, or in juice form, year-round. It is always imperative to check added sugars when it comes to any of the processed form of cranberries. Given that they aren’t the sweetest berry, many turn to adding sugars to make them more palatable to the consumer.
- Trail Mix or Granola – Cranberries are a great addition to homemade trail mix or granola. They add a little bit of sugar, and are even better when accompanied with a homemade mix of unsalted nuts or granola. Try our Crunchy Maple Almond Cranberry Granola with your morning yogurt or smoothie. Simply delicious!
- Smoothie – This Thanksgiving, take a moment and freeze some of those fresh cranberries. Throw them in your next smoothie for added tartness and sweetness! So festive!
- Oatmeal or Quinoa Cereal Bowl – Our son can’t get enough dried cranberries in his life, and we can usually get him to eat a healthy portion of old fashioned oats if we throw in a handful of dried cranberries. No added sugar in the oatmeal. We make from scratch every morning, and it takes no time. Don’t waste your money on those pre-packaged oatmeals.
- Cookies, Muffins and other Baked Goods – Wherever you would typically use raisins, throw in dried cranberries for a fun twist. We love this Cranberry Pound Cake with Orange Glaze from Jen Reviews. Perfect for a morning treat at your next brunch this fall.
- Pies and Cobblers – This is the season for fruit pies and cobblers. Even if you are baking an apple or pear pie or cobbler, throw in some fresh cranberries to jazz it up!
It’s Thanksgiving week. What’s on your menu? How do you incorporate cranberries in your holiday tradition???