Cranberries are another seasonal classic fruit that, in addition to being delicious, offer several health benefits! They’re considered a superfood because they are a fantastic source of certain vitamins and minerals and several unique plant compounds and antioxidants.
Here are 5 of the possible top health benefits of cranberries:
1. Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
First, and perhaps most obvious, cranberries help protect against UTIs, which are among the most common bacterial infections (especially among women). Phytonutrients, unique plant compounds also known as A-type proanthocyanidins or condensed tannins, prevent E. coli from attaching to the lining of your bladder and urinary tract, the most common cause of UTIs, and cranberries are among the richest fruit sources.
Several studies, including this one and this one, suggest that drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements reduces the risk of Urinary Tract Infections. However, while cranberries can lower the risk of UTIs, they are not a treatment for the infection.
So, as always, consult your doctor if you have a UTI or any medical concerns.
2. Support Heart Health
The antioxidants in cranberries are beneficial for heart health, and several studies support the belief that cranberries and cranberry juice or supplements reduce the risk of heart disease. They can help lower pressure and improve cholesterol balance, both of which are essential for heart health.
However, there are some conflicting studies on this, so you shouldn’t rely solely on cranberries for overall heart health.
3. Maintain Digestive Health
The same A-type proanthocyanidins mentioned earlier help reduce the harmful microbes in the colon and replace them with good bacteria your body needs. The same process that helps prevent UTIs is what supports digestive health. Additionally, cranberries may also reduce inflammation in and around your digestive tract.
Gut health is vital to overall health, so adding cranberries to your diet is very smart!
4. Reduce Inflammation
Cranberries are anti-inflammatory foods because they’re high in antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, and flavanols, which give cranberries their dark hue. This anti-inflammation is crucial to the reduced risk of certain diseases and infections, such as UTIs, heart disease, obesity, and certain cancers.
5. May Protect Against Certain Cancers
First, let me say that neither cranberries nor any other fruit or vegetable is a cure for cancer or 100% protection against cancers. All serious medical advice should come from a healthcare professional, and if you have any concerns, always talk to your doctor.
That being said, cranberries’ unique plant compounds maylower the risk of stomach cancer when preventing H. pylori from attaching to your stomach lining. Ursolic acid, another antioxidant plant compound found in cranberries, has potential anti-cancer effects. It has been seen to be particularly useful in prostate cancer.
Hopefully, these health benefits will inspire you to try the following cranberry recipes!
The tangy fresh cranberries are surprisingly AMAZING combined with crispy chickpeas and creamy sweet chocolate.
This combo will surprise you because it’s just excellent! Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are full of protein and fiber and are loaded with vitamins and minerals, adding to the nutritional value of this tasty treat!