We’ve all heard the Acai, Goji and Blueberries touted as the wonder-berries packed with all their antioxidants and anti-aging abilities... but what about the poor cranberry that's got so much to offer us but is often overlooked?
6 Best Benefits Of The Cranberry
Anti-inflammatory and high in anti-oxidants
Just like its cousins in the berry family. Anti-oxidants help fight the free-radicals that cause damage to our cells. In other words, it slows down the aging process - the wrinkles, the sagging, the loss of collagen, the dullness in our skin!
High in Vitamin C
We all know Vitamin C helps strengthen our immune system but it also helps to detoxify our bodies, promotes healing of our cells and helps us better cope with stress. What's more, Vitamin C is key in the production of collagen which helps our skin stay firm. Remember, humans are not able to make vitamin C so it's essential that we get this from our diets!
Helps us naturally illuminate excess fluids from our system through urination. This means it helps us women with bloating during, before or after our menstrual cycle. If you're susceptible to water retention due to frequent flying and have problems fitting into your shoes after you land, you could benefit from sipping cranberry juice throughout and after your flight!
Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), Kidney infections and Stomach Ulcers
The primary use of Cranberries has long been in the prevention of UTI’s. Previously, it was the acidity in these berries that were thought to help with UTI’s but new reports suggest that it's a specific compound (Proanthocyanidins aka PACs) found in these berries that act as a barrier to bacteria that would otherwise attach itself to the urinary tract lining causing UTI's. This is great news for other internal bacteria-causing issues such as the stomach ulcer!
Dr Grenier, a leading health researcher for the Cranberry, has found that PACs could also prevent Periodontal Disease and other oral infections of the teeth and gums. The PACs are thought to be able to provide protection against oral bacterial adherence. Incorporating cranberries into our diet could mean less frequent and more bearable trips to the dentist!
Prevention of Cancer
Tests have found the PACs in cranberries to inihibt the growth of lung, colon and leukemia cells and could also potentially stop cancer from spreading!
How To Incorporate Cranberries Into Our Diet
As a juice! Lots of juice companies make Cranberry juice that you could pick up from any supermarket – just remember to check the concentration or percentage of REAL Cranberry in it. If you're afraid of the sugar content in these juices, we like to mix a little bit of juice into our glass of water. It makes drinking the 8 glasses a little more pleasurable!
Start using cranberry jams and preserves on your toast, in your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or with your turkey sandwich.
Mix in handfuls of dried cranberries into your nuts for an afternoon snack once you so you don't get the 4 o'clock slump.
We like to chop up our dried cranberries and mix it in with our granola or oats - eat it for breakfast or mix them into your Greek yoghurt! For lunch, add them into your salads or couscous.
Make a Cranberry Compote which can be used to top off your pancakes, French toast, waffles or on top of your favorite icecream. Don't get scared off from the word 'compote' - it sounds so much harder than what it really is. We've included our favorite recipe below. It takes 15 minutes to make and can be refrigerated if you make too much... But trust us, you'll eat it up before it even gets a chance to go off!
Time: 15 mins
Skill Level: Easy
½ pounds of fresh cranberries
½ cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
A splash of lemon juice
½ cup of granulated sugar
1 ½ cups of water
Splash of red wine
Combine all ingredients together in a medium saucepan and place on med-high heat. Leave to boil for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for a further 15 -20 minutes. By now, you should start to see the sauce reduced, darken in color and the cranberries soft.
Once you see the sauce reduce to about ½ the amount you started with, take it off the heat and allow it to cool – don’t worry if it still seems runny. As it cools, it will start to thicken.
We all have different palettes so tweak it to taste – add in more sugar if you prefer it a little sweeter!