Cranberries, a small tart fruit, commonly used in baking to make juice and cranberry sauce, penetrates 41.2% of all US menu’s. While they have a short season, it is best to get them fresh in the grocery store around mid-October. They are grown primarily in the northeastern states and are harvested mid-September and October. As some describe them as bitter and sour, they stay fresh from October through December, which is why we only see them around the holidays. It’s never too early to start freezing some!
Fall is the time to get to know these tart berries and their wealth of nutritional benefits. From immunity to brain health, cranberries are worth adding to your healthy eating routine and/or to add to your Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts as they add a sweet, tart tang to delicious sweets.
People call cranberries a superfood for a good reason; They have all kinds of health-boosting benefits:
- Immune system benefits
- Cardiovascular system benefits
- Anti-cancer benefits
- Digestive benefits
- Cranberries are one of the top antioxidant foods. As it is rich in vitamin C, this will help keep your immune system healthy and functioning properly. They also contain five categories of natural chemical compounds, known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.
- These berries have a concentrated source of both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. A study from Food & Function, included 45 men who either consumed cranberry powder equivalent to 100g of fresh cranberries per day, or a placebo for one month. Those who consumed the cranberries, had significant progress in flow-mediated dilation (FMD) that signals improvement of heart and blood vessel function.
- The results in this study demonstrated consumption of cranberries as part of a healthy diet that can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood vessel function.
- Cranberries provide an average amount of vitamin C, but the main source of cranberries potential for cancer prevention comes from the package of phenolic compounds. This includes polyphenols that are found in the berries as well as a unique type of proanthocyanidin. From the University of Rochester Medical Center, “proanthocyanin may protect the heart and cardiovascular system. They may work as antioxidants and block nitrosamines from forming. They work with vitamin C to lower the risk of breast cancer, reduce the risk of blood clots, and may lower the risk of a heart attack.
- Individuals may differ in cancer protection from cranberries as many of the compounds are complex molecules that are broken down by gut microbes.
- Consuming cranberries have played a role in traditional treatments for the protection against urinary tract infections (UTI’s). They are the most common bacterial infections that are among women. They are mostly caused by E. coli which attaches itself to the inner surface of your bladder and urinary tract.
- Native Americans were the first to use the cranberries for their medical conditions such as complaints, including blood disorders, stomach ailments, liver problems, and fever.
Holiday & Menu Additions:
Want to be creative for the upcoming holidays or add desserts to your fall menu? Here’s how you can incorporate cranberries with our desserts.
NY Cheesecake & Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce – An elegant New York cheesecake topped with a festive touch of a luscious cranberry- pomegranate sauce. Great for romantic fall dessert menus.
Iced Vanilla Bean Cupcake w/ Raspberries: Our natural, buttery vanilla cake filled with a vanilla bean-flecked cream and finished off with fresh cranberries. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties.
Resources: Health Benefits, Cranberry Facts, Cancer Research
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