The truth about the health benefits of cranberries

admin | October 30th, 2017 - 3:53 pm

There’s no doubt that cranberries have exceptional health benefits — but the benefits may be different than what you think. With a growing body of research, here’s a breakdown of the latest findings on cranberries, along with tips for including more cranberries in your diet.

Cancer prevention 

If you’ve heard cranberries referred to as a superfood, it’s because they have a higher antioxidant capacity than strawberries, spinach, broccoli, grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries. Coupled with high amounts of anti-inflammatory nutrients, these powerful berries are strong contenders for the prevention of certain cancers, including breast, colon, brain, oral, ovarian, prostate, and esophageal cancer.

Bone health

One of the lesser known characteristics of cranberries is the nutrient composition that makes them good for your bones. In addition to antioxidants, cranberries contain vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin K — all of which support bone health.

Heart health 

Like other red fruits and vegetables, the phytochemicals that give cranberries a ruby color can help reduce blood pressure and lessen the risk of heart disease.

Cranberry misconceptions 

Cranberries have long been associated with preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) because of their high levels of proanthocyanidins (or PACs for short). PACs help keep bacteria off the walls of the urinary tract, thus preventing infection. However, researchers at Yale University recently led a year-long study that showed daily cranberry capsule consumption did not prevent UTIs from occurring. While other studies have also suggested that cranberry capsules and juice should not be recommended for preventing or treating UTIs, few have been as large and definitive as the Yale study.

In the kitchen

If anything, we should celebrate fresh cranberries not just because they’re a low-calorie, high-fiber fruit packed with antioxidants, but because they add an incredible tang to sauces, baked goods, and salads. Here’s how to shop, store, and cook with this seasonal power berry.

In the store: Fresh cranberries are sold bagged in Hy-Vee produce departments from October through December. Look for firm berries with a smooth, shiny, dark red color.

Stocking up: When fresh cranberries go on sale, fill your cart. Generally, they last about four weeks in the fridge, but you can freeze unopened bags of cranberries for about a year. That means you can make fresh cranberry bread and muffins year-round.

Cranberry orange muffins

Serves 12 (1 muffin each)

All you need:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, halved

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk egg, orange juice and applesauce until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries.
  2. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or use paper liners; fill three-fourths full. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

Source:  desmoinesregister.com, 10/25/2017

Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Facebook IconTwitter IconOn PinterestOn PinterestOn PinterestOn Pinterest