Key Ingredient: Cranberry

Key Ingredient: Cranberry

Cranberries are a versatile and popular holiday menu item that are often used in cranberry sauce, punches and ciders, stuffing, casseroles and desserts. Not only are cranberries delicious, but they're also packed with health benefits.

Cranberries are often referred to as a “superfood” for their high nutrient and antioxidant content and low calorie density. One cup of cranberries contains just 25 calories!

The berries are also a good source of vitamins C and E as well as fiber. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system. Vitamin E is also involved in immune function and may help prevent diseases associated with free radicals. Fiber is important in reducing risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and many other health problems.

Here are just a few reasons why you should eat cranberries all year long, not just during the holidays:

Urinary tract infection (UTI) prevention: Cranberries contain high levels of proanthocyanidins (PACs) that help prevent certain bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract walls and causing a UTI.

Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease: The polyphenols in cranberries may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing blood pressure and preventing the buildup of platelets.

Protect dental health: The proanthocyanidins in cranberries are not only beneficial in preventing UTIs, but they can also help protect dental health by preventing the buildup of bacteria on the teeth. Cranberries may also help prevent gum disease.

Want to improve your health by eating more cranberries? Here are a few ways you can enjoy both the flavor and the health benefits of cranberries:

  • Make this simple three-ingredient cranberry sauce.
  • Try this recipe for delicious hot cranberry apple cider.
  • Add a handful of frozen cranberries to a fruit smoothie for breakfast.
  • Top oatmeal with dried cranberries.
  • Toss dried or fresh cranberries into your salad.
  • Mix dried cranberries with nuts and seeds for a homemade trail mix. 
  • Add cranberries to homemade desserts like cobbler or pie. 
  • Mix dried or fresh cranberries into your homemade muffin or cookie recipe.

Note: If you’re using cranberry juice in a recipe or drinking it plain, be sure you’re drinking 100 percent cranberry juice rather than cranberry juice cocktail.


 

Posted: 12/07/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: cranberry, healthy eating, key ingredient, nutrition

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