Cranberries are one of the most popular superfoods around, and it is no wonder, considering their numerous health benefits.
Widely regarded as a powerhouse of essential nutrients and loaded with health-benefiting properties, the tiny red-coloured fruit, which has a tangy taste, is an excellent source of vitamins, especially Vitamin C, and minerals, including Iron, Potassium and Calcium.
Due to their very sharp and sour taste, cranberries are rarely eaten raw. They are more often eaten dried, which allows them to be enjoyed all year-round. Used in a variety of dishes to add flavour, cranberries can also be consumed in the form of juices, jams and sauces.
Need more reasons to love cranberries? Health-wise, we have plenty, and you will definitely want to know all about them.
One of the best-known qualities of cranberries is the fact that they help to prevent and lower the risk of urinary tract infections. Cranberries contain plenty of antioxidants called proanthocyanidins (PACs), which can help prevent certain bacteria from attaching to the lining of your bladder and urinary tract.
A number of studies also suggest that drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements may reduce the risk of UTIs in both children and adults. However, remember that they cannot treat existing UTIs, which can only be cured with antibiotics.
Cranberries are also high in flavonol polyphenols, which are antioxidants that help to prevent heart disease. Various studies have found that cranberries are able to deliver benefits such as increasing levels of good cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and decreasing blood levels of homocysteine, thus cutting your risk of inflammation in blood vessels.
Keep fit and healthy
Cranberries are also an excellent snack for those looking to lose weight. One cup of chopped cranberries has just 46 calories, 0.1 grams of fat and 2 grams of fibre, which helps you feel fuller for longer and helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels.
Fibre can lower risks for developing diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and gastrointestinal disease, among other health conditions. It also helps you manage your blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce cholesterol levels.
Lowers risk of cancer
All the antioxidants contained in cranberries also help to lower the risk of developing stomach cancer, one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of the disease around the world.
This is because the PACs which prevent bacteria that causes UTIs from attaching to the lining of your urinary tract also prevents the H. pylori bacteria, a major cause of stomach cancer, stomach inflammation and ulcers, from attaching to the lining of your stomach.
Cranberries have also been found to contain compounds which can affect the growth of existing tumours. People who are predisposed to suffer from prostate problems or from cancers, including breast, liver, colon, and ovarian, may develop a stronger immunity to these conditions.
Versatile and delicious
You can make a lot of food more nutritious and tasty by adding cranberries to it. Some people may prefer to drink their nutrients, and cranberry juice can be added to your morning smoothie, or poured along with lightly sweetened almond milk into oatmeal or overnight oats for a burst of fruity flavour.
For those looking for convenience, dried cranberries are the way to go.
Sprinkling a small handful of dried cranberries on your soup or salad is a tasty and healthy tip to make your meals more nutritious. They also make a delicious snack that you can eat on their own, and also make the perfect addition to a homemade trail mix that includes nuts and seeds.
For more inspirations on how you can add cranberries to your life, click here.