It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a superfood! That splash of red isn’t a cape twisting in the wind — it’s the ripe skin of November’s favorite fruit. As tart as they are sweet, cranberries make for a great treat as a juice, dried snack, canned sauce, or raw fruit. Not only is the ruby-red cranberry a juicy delight, it’s a rich source of vitamins and nutrients worthy of the name superfood.
Cranberries are considered a superfood. They’re very high in antioxidants; they are second only to red grapes in offering a high level of phenols, which can help fight free radicals that can damage your body and lead to a host of health problems including premature aging. Research has found that antioxidants can also reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.
Cranberries are a great source of:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin A
- Ursolic Acid
An important poimt to keep in mind is that cranberries lose most of their vitamin content once they’ve been dried. Dried cranberries do retain a decent amount of calcium and potassium, however, so they aren’t devoid of nutritional value. Dried cranberries also have a much, much higher amount of sugar in them (to counterattack the berry’s natural tartness).
Cranberries (particularly in juice form) are very effective at settling digestive problems and stomach aches. This is due in part to the fruit's high acid content. Cranberry juice swiftly dissolves food with high fat content (particularly meats and other animal byproducts), allowing these goods to move at a faster pace through your digestive system. Cranberries also suppress the growth of H. pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and can put you at increased risk for gastric cancer.
Cranberries can help ease inflammation, lower your blood pressure, and improve your overall heart health. Eating cranberries can increase polyphenols and metabolites in the bloodstream, which can lower your blood sugar levels and prevent the formation of blood clots.
FYI on UTI’s
Common folk wisdom tells us to reach for a bottle of cranberry juice to ease the pain of a urinary tract infection, but do cranberries really help alleviate UTIs? Yes and no. Cranberry juice doesn’t cut it but cranberry capsules/supplements can make a difference for treating UTIs. That’s because you need a high concentration of cranberry to achieve the desired effect, and there’s just not enough content in the juice to make it work.
As to why cranberries have a positive effect on UTIs: it comes down to bacteria. For a UTI to take hold, bacteria has to invade and stick to the lining of your bladder. Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), which can help block those bacteria from sticking to your bladder wall and reduce the likelihood of infection. It's also believed that the high acidic content of cranberries may play a part in combating bacteria that cause UTIs.
Keep Away Cavities
The A-type proanthocyanidin content in cranberries can also help protect your teeth! They can help prevent bacteria from forming in the mouth. Keeping your mouth free from harmful bacteria is necessary to combat long-term health problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer.