- Benefits of Cranberries
- Which Cranberry Type is Better?
- Potential Side Effects of Cranberries
- 3 Ways to Incorporate More Cranberries into Your Diet
Benefits of Cranberries
Cranberries are not only a popular fruit to have during the holidays, but are loaded with vitamins and nutrients. Here are some of the different health benefits of eating more cranberries.
They Have a High Amount of Antioxidants
Antioxidants have a huge range of health benefits and are especially powerful at fighting off illnesses. They also help to fight infections and diseases. By having cranberries regularly, you avoid a lot of serious diseases.
One of the main reasons cranberries are classed as a superfood is because of their extremely high antioxidant content. In a cupful of cranberries, there’s an estimated 8,983 antioxidant content. This is beaten only by a cupful of blueberries.
You’ll find that many fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants, cranberries have more than many of them, including broccoli, other berries, apples, red grapes, cherries, and spinach. It also contains other nutrients like fiber and vitamin C, so having cranberry juice each day is a good way to get healthier.
Cranberries Are Good For UTIs
One of the diseases that cranberries are the best for is the UTI. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common and can be very painful. This occurs from bacteria entering the urinary tract walls. Just by having more cranberries in your diet, you can help to prevent a UTI.
Drinking cranberry juice is often recommended during treatment of a UTI along with medication to get rid of the infection. They’re even said to be better than antibiotics. This is because although very effective, antibiotics can cause some pretty nasty side effects, whereas cranberries don’t produce any side effects.
Women are most likely to suffer from these infections and it’s estimated around 15 million cases of them are reported every year in the US. Ifyou’re prone to this type of infection, you should have cranberries on more of a regular basis.
Not only do cranberries help you reduce the symptoms and better still, prevent you from developing an infection in the first place. So, if you want to keep urinary tract infections at bay, cranberries could be the answer.
You Can Reduce Your Risk For Cancer
Thanks to the nutrients in cranberries, particularly the antioxidants, cranberries can also help to reduce your risk for certain types of cancer. While you should also follow your doctor’s orders for avoiding cancer, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet, along with not smoking and not drinking alcohol as much, cranberries are good to add to your diet. They have been shown to help with colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate and ovarian cancer, and liver cancer.
One of the major benefits of cranberries is their ability to fight off cancer. They’re especially good at preventing breast cancers, with several studies highlighting their cancer-fighting benefits.
Most studies have been carried out on laboratory animals, but they have shown cranberries can prevent cancer cells from developing. Cranberry extract has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer cells multiplying.
Regular consumption of cranberries can reduce the risk of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers.
Strengthen the Immune System
The high concentration of antioxidants in cranberries, helps them to really strengthen the immune system. They work by flushing toxins out of the body.
It’s the proanthocyanins which help to protect the gut’s lining, keeping the immune system strong and healthy. As the antioxidants work to remove harmful bacteria, they also help to boost the good bacteria within the gut.
So, if you’re looking to stay fit, healthy and resistant to colds and flu, you’ll want to make sure you add a good amount of cranberries to your daily diet.
Contain Excellent Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
While inflammation can be good for the body, it’s also often a contributor or result of many illnesses. For example, inflammation has been linked to cancer, auto-immune diseases and heart disease.
As cranberries are a natural anti-inflammatory, they can really help to reduce the risk of these diseases.
Which Cranberry Type is Better?
Like many other foods, cranberries come in a variety of forms. As well as the standard fresh cranberries found in grocery stores, you can also take them in extract, dried and juice formation.
Is There a Difference in Nutrition?
The question is, if you’re looking to experience the benefits cranberries have to offer, which form is better?
Although all forms of cranberry are good for the health, some do contain stronger health benefits than others.
If you’re looking to gain maximum benefits, you’ll want to stick to either fresh whole cranberries or cranberry extract. This is because both of these types have been largely unaltered and cranberries in their natural state have the highest concentration of antioxidants.
However, it’s worth noting not all cranberry extracts contain the same amount of benefits. You’ll need to make sure you’re choosing a high-quality, well-known extract if you want to experience maximum benefits.
Dried cranberries do offer some nutritional value, but they also contain a lot of natural and added sugar. So, they’re largely advised as a healthy snack.
Similarly, cranberry juice can have a lot of added sugar and it’s also not as concentrated as other forms. So, its nutritional content is again limited.
Potential Side Effects of Cranberries
Another thing to keep in mind when you’re choosing which form of cranberry to include in your diet, is the potential side effects.
Fresh, whole cranberries don’t typically have side effects unless you’re consuming an unhealthy amount. They don’t have anything added, so if you’re looking for the most natural and safest way of adding cranberries to your diet, you’ll want to invest in the fresh ones.
Dried Cranberries & Juice
Dried cranberries and cranberry juice on the other hand, can cause numerous health issues. Due to the added sugar content, they can prove detrimental to blood sugar levels and be potentially dangerous for those with Diabetes.
The added sugar also isn’t great for those watching their weight. So, if you’re on a diet and you’re looking for a healthy snack, be wary of consuming too many dried cranberries.
Cranberry extract should also be taken with caution. While high-quality extracts can be really beneficial, in the long-term they can lead to problems such as kidney stones.
Cranberries do have a lot of health benefits, but only if they’re consumed correctly. Fresh, whole cranberries cannot be beaten in terms of nutrition and health benefits. So, if you’re looking for the best type of cranberry to add to your diet, fresh is definitely the way to go.
3 Ways to Incorporate More Cranberries into Your Diet
Cranberries have some pretty awesome health benefits so it makes sense to add them to your daily diet. However, besides eating them fresh, it can be difficult to come up with unique ways to add them into your daily life.
If you’re struggling for inspiration, below you’ll discover 3 ways to incorporate more cranberries into your diet.
- Add Them to Recipes
Cranberries can be added to an extensive range of different recipes. Although being a fruit, you’d initially think of using them in baking and desserts, their natural tartness actually makes them perfect for savory recipes too.
Just some of the ways you can add them to your daily diet include adding them to pancakes, sprinkling them on salad, use them in stuffing and creating your own cranberry sauce or relish.
Take a look online and you’ll find literally hundreds of cranberry inspired recipes. You could even set yourself a challenge to try out 1-2 new recipes a week.
- Take a Cranberry Supplement
Cranberry supplements are readily available in health stores and they contain extremely high concentrations of antioxidants. They’re really easy to take too; simply take the specified amount with a glass of water.
However, it’s really important to remember that not all cranberry supplements are made to the same quality. If you want to avoid the potential side effects and ensure you’re getting the maximum health benefits, be sure to choose a top-quality brand.
- Snack on Dried Cranberries (in moderation)
Cranberries also come in dried formation which are perfect for snacking. Like the supplements, it’s important to be cautious when adding dried cranberries to your diet.
This is because they tend to come with added sugar. So, if eaten in large quantities they can be bad for your dental health, cause havoc for your blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain.
When eaten in smaller quantities however, dried cranberries can make a healthy snack. A cupful of cranberries contains approximately 130 calories or less (depending upon the size of your cup). So, switching to dried cranberries instead of chocolate, crisps or biscuits can be really good for you.
It is Easy to Add Them to Your Diet
Cranberries are very easy to add to your diet, providing yet another benefit of them. You can have cranberry juice or get into juicing on your own and add some cranberries. They are delicious in smoothies and can top your cereal either fresh or dried.
There are many excellent recipes that use cranberries, including cranberry sauce, as a side dish for pork or chicken, and put into muffins and scones. You can also eat a handful of dried cranberries as a quick and healthy snack, add them to your oatmeal or yogurt, or make your own granola mix or trail mix with dried cranberries.
Just remember that in order to gain the most benefits, cranberries are best eaten in fresh, whole form. Be wary of cranberries which may have nasty ingredients added such as sugar and preservatives.