During this festive time of year, it’s easy to see cranberries in your local supermarket. Besides adding a tangy flavor to foods and a brilliant color to holiday decor, we now know that cranberries have a variety of health benefits.
The cranberry is a native fruit of North America and has been used by indigenous cultures for thousands of years. It is primarily known to treat urinary tract infections, but now modern research is showing that the cranberry can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
Cranberries healing benefits come from its disease-preventative antioxidants. This class of antioxidants called phenols are thought to be especially protective against chronic diseases. Cranberries contain flavonoids that have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol oxidation and platelet aggregation and adhesion which are key factors in arteriosclerosis.
Cranberries also contain anti-cancer compounds called anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin. Preliminary studies have shown cranberries to inhibit tumor cell growth.
The proanthocyanidins in cranberries prevent E. coli and other bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall. These properties last up to 10 hours in preventing urinary tract infections. Just two servings of cranberry juice per day is effective.
Cranberries prevent ulcers in a similar fashion by blocking a stomach bacteria called H. Pylori. Also, a compound called high-molecular-weight nondialysable (NDM) in cranberries inhibits and even reverses the adhesion of bacteria that cause plaque and periodontal disease.
This season, enjoy the taste and health benefits of this wonderful fruit!