Benefits of Cranberries
The festive red-colored cranberry tends to show up on holidays (Thanksgiving and maybe even on Christmas) as a sidekick to turkey. But, other than making the guest appearance on these special days, people often forget about the cranberry. Sure, we’ll drink some cranberry juice now and then, especially when we get the occasional and annoying UTI. And maybe we’ll add some dried cranberries to a salad or some granola… but it’s not that easy to try to figure out ways of incorporating whole cranberries (fresh or frozen) into our diet. Maybe if we take a closer look at the nutritional benefits of cranberries, we might find them worthy of consuming year-round.
Five important reasons to eat cranberries.
1. Cranberries are an excellent source of phytonutrients (flavonoids). Flavonoids help suppress certain types of cancer and may decrease the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and the more flavonoids you eat, the less likely you are to develop dementia (according to some studies).
2. Cranberries provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, protecting the cardiovascular system and the digestive tract (including the mouth, gums, stomach and colon).
3. Cranberries are a potent antioxidant, and in the antioxidant department – they outrank a number of fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries. However, cranberry’s cousin, the blueberry, still has more potent antioxidant properties than the cranberry.
4. Cranberries are a good source of Vitamin C.
5. Cranberries are a good source of fiber.
Fresh cranberries are in peak season November and December. They can be refrigerated for up to two months before using and can also be frozen for later use. Be sure to choose cranberries that are firm and unwrinkled.
10 ways to add more cranberries into your diet:
- Make a homemade trail mix with unsalted nuts, seeds and dried cranberries
- Include a small handful of frozen cranberries in a fruit smoothie (like this one)
- Add fresh or dried cranberries to your oatmeal or whole grain cereal
- Include fresh cranberries in an apple dessert like pie or cobbler for an extra kick of flavor
- Drink 100% fruit juice that includes cranberries
- Add fresh cranberries into blueberry muffins for added color and flavor
- Slice cranberries and add them to your favorite pancake batter
- Mix sliced cranberries with vanilla yogurt for breakfast
- Add sliced cranberries into a bowl of freshly cut fruit salad
- Toss sliced cranberries into your green salad