The cranberry harvest is here! Soon you will see bags and bags of fresh cranberries in the store for your morning oatmeal, cranberry orange bread, and fresh Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. YUM!
I thought it would be a great time to extoll the health benefits of cranberries and give you some ideas for using them.
How Cranberries Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Nutrient dense cranberries provide vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Over 50 years of research shows that cranberries are associated with reduced risk of UTIs, a painful condition that afflicts some 11 million American women each year and costs over $1.6 billion dollars annually to treat.
Cranberries contain polyphenols and the flavonoid, proanthocyanidin (PAC) that provide potential health benefits. The unusual A-type structure of the cranberry PAC appears to be responsible for the anti-adhesive properties not found in other PAC-containing fruits and vegetables.The PACs in cranberries help prevent the adhesion of certain harmful bacteria, including E. coli, associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs). They may also help to inhibit the bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers.
Cranberries and Heart Health
Cranberries can help to support cardiovascular health and are the perfect addition to a heart-healthy diet. Whole cranberries are a good source of dietary fiber, and all cranberry products contain flavonoids and polyphenolics, natural compounds that offer a wide range of potential heart health benefits.
Using Dried Cranberries
Some people aren’t comfortable with the idea that cranberries have added sugar. The total amount of sugar in dried cranberries is equal to that of other dried fruits, like raisins and dried cherries. Dried cranberries are sweetened because unlike other berries, cranberries are naturally low in sugar and high in acidity so they require sweetening to be palatable.
- I love dried cranberries mixed with nuts as a snack.
- They are also great in oatmeal with a little cinnamon.
- Use them as a topping on salads – especially spinach and kale with goat cheese and any veggies you love.
- Add to quinoa, rice, or other grain side dishes.
- Put them in your Thanksgiving stuffing.
- Toss into your yogurt or cottage cheese.
- Holiday baking: use them in home baked cookies, muffins and breads.
Coming Soon.. 50% Less Added Sugar
Check out my video from the 2012 Food and Nutrition Conference where I first learned that some cranberries are coming out in 2013 with less added sugar.
I was compensated for my time in writing this blog post, but I was not compensated for my time to shoot the cranberry video at FNCE.
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