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Health Benefits of Cranberries

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One of the few fruits native to North America, tart, delicious cranberries are a Thanksgiving staple. Whether it’s boiled down into sauce, served in a cocktail or baked into a dessert, you can be sure to find this berry pop up somewhere on most tables next Thursday. But the cranberry shouldn’t just be reserved for the holidays. With all its health perks, this superfood should be a regular part of your diet. Here are just a few of the many benefits of cranberries:

-Second only to blueberries, cranberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of any fruit or vegetable. These powerful, plentiful antioxidants slow down aging, improve your immune system and internal organ functioning, and promote weight loss by flushing out your system.

-They’re high in fiber, vitamin C and manganese.

-The proanthocyanidins in cranberries help prevent E. coli bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls, thereby blocking nasty UTIs before they start. If you’re suffering from one, cranberries are a great supplement to heal it. They also contain quinic acid, which prevent other bladder and kidney problems like kidney stones.

-Cranberries can inhibit certain types of cancer cells like breast, colon, prostate and lung from developing and multiplying.

-They promote heart health and reduce stroke risk by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and preventing plaque formation.

-Want clear, beautiful skin? Eat cranberries to heal conditions like acne, dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.

-Dental issues like ingivitis, gum disease, cavities and plaque can be avoided with regular cranberry consumption.

-Cranberries lift your mood and improve your memory.

-H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers, are reduced by eating cranberries.

-The phytonutrients in cranberries are responsible for their anti-inflammatory effects.

Cranberries are extremely versatile and can be enjoyed fresh (or thawed from frozen), dried, or in juice form. Just be aware of added sugar in cranberry juice: sweetened varieties not only up the calorie count, but cancel out most of the benefits you would get by drinking it. It can be tempting to use a lot of sugar in cranberry recipes to balance the tartness, but try to use natural sweeteners whenever possible.

If you’re feeling as cranberry-crazy as we are, try out some of these great recipes:

Cranberry Sweet Potato Cottage Cheese Muffins via The Lean Green Bean
Cranberry Bars with Chocolate Shortbread Crust via Lemons & Anchovies
Cranberry-Pear Crisp via Katie at the Kitchen Door
Kale, Cranberry, and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash via Yummy Mummy Kitchen
Cranberry Citrus Meatballs via Diabetic Foodie
Bourbon Vanilla Cranberry Sauce via Eat, Live, Run
Vegan Cranberry Whipped Cream via Family Fresh Cooking
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies via Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

What’s your favorite way to enjoy cranberries?

 

Feature image: Muffet via photopin cc

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