Often overlooked and undervalued unlike its more popular siblings, blueberries and raspberries; cranberries should be treated with equality and not neglected within the esteemed berry family, they deserve huge recognition and credit based on their powerful, nutrient dense profile. Originally hailing from both the North and South Americas, cranberries are actually classified as ‘evergreen dwarf shrubs’ which can sometimes be referred to as ‘trail vines’, interestingly, they can also be found growing in acidic wetland bogs of clay, peat, sand and gravel which creates an environment for them to flourish and develop until they are ripe and ready to pick. These natural ruby red gems of goodness are not only bursting with potent flavour but contain some special properties that contribute to empowering your health and increasing longevity. Find out more as we explore the Top 5 Health Benefits of Cranberries!
1. Help prevent UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections)
Fortunately, cranberries contain a high level of plant sterols such as flavonoids and antioxidants which protect our bodily cells from damage. With that being said, one phenol in particular has been known to guard against against infections within the urinary tract, the superhero: proanthocyanidin. One of its primary roles include reducing and removing the build up of bad bacteria within the tract thus helping to restore a healthy urinary flow.
2. Decrease risk of cancer
Did you know that cranberries are an excellent source of Vitamin E? This fat soluble vitamin can help to protect the outer layer of our cell membranes which allows our tissues to remain healthy. These berries also act as anti-inflammatories minimising excess inflammation in the breast, stomach, prostate and many more organs and can inhibit the growth of certain tumor cells from forming through maintaining healthy function and potentially stopping cancer in its tracks. They have the ability to deactivate the enzymes cyclooxygenase 1 + 2 which can increase inflammation -fun fact eh?
3. Boost the immune system
These little shrubs are loaded with Vitamin C which help fight off infection and disease therefore keeping those nasty colds and flu at bay. Vitamin C has notable healing properties and has the ability to aid in the repair of tissues (muscles etc), rapidly stop massive blood loss when injured through quicker clotting, (including bleeding gums on the dentist’s chair!) as well as preventing bacteria sticking to the teeth.
4. Combats heart disease
As cranberries contain an adequate amount of fibre, not only can they help lower bad LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream thus helping to maintain a healthy blood and oxygen flow but the fibre makes you feel fuller for longer which means you eat less therefore decreasing the chances of obesity. These little shrubs have also been known to lower blood pressure too which results in less strain on the heart these factors combined contribute to lessening the chances of developing heart disease.
5. Anti-aging and bone strength
Due to being jam-packed full of antioxidants and flavonoids (giving them their bright red colour) this ‘superfruit’ has the power to shield the cells against damage; keeping the internal organs healthy. They also contain the mineral manganese which is required to make collagen, a protein which forms the structure of our skin. Manganese also aids in the absorption of calcium and creates essential enzymes to build new bone or at least minimise bone loss which can help prevent osteoporosis.
If you’re looking to achieve a robust bodily temple along with a skin that radiates, why not combine a handful of cranberries with various seeds and nuts to create your very own, healthy trail mix? By adding them to your morning porridge, salad, home-made granola bars or smoothies, we think you’ll never look back!