Don't Limit Cranberries to Thanksgiving
Cranberries are a Thanksgiving tradition, but don't overlook these ruby gems of good health throughout the year.
Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C, and they contain phytochemicals - plant-derived nutrients that have potential health benefits. These phytochemicals make cranberries high in antioxidants - substances that prevent cell damage.
The November issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource covers the potential health benefits of cranberries. Cranberries or their juices may:
- Prevent certain bacteria that cause urinary tract infections from accumulating in the bladder, though clinical trials have shown conflicting results,
- Have a role in treating certain stomach ulcers,
- Lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol,
- Increase blood levels of salicylic acid, an anti-inflammatory compound similar to aspirin that may have health benefits. However, people who take blood thinners should be careful because bleeding times may be prolonged.
Incorporating cranberries into your diet can be a challenge because of their tartness. Try adding cranberries to whole-grain cereal, serving cranberry chutney over poultry or adding dried cranberries to granola.
Cranberry juice, like all fruit juice, is high in calories. But by drinking a reduced-calorie cranberry juice cocktail, or cranberry juice diluted with sparkling water - you can help keep the calorie content lower while still receiving the benefits.
Cranberry capsules or tablets are an alternative, but it's unlikely that they have the same potency and effectiveness as the actual juice or fruit.