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Cranberries, apart from being pretty, provide a lot of health benefits and vitamins in our body. These tiny looking cherries are filled with Vitamin C and fibre, offers anti-oxidants, polyphenols and contains nearly 1 miligram of sodium, which is really good. Cranberries also helps in maintaining the health of Urinary Tract. Although Cranberries are little bitter in taste, they are filled with powerful phytochemical that assists in protecting our body from illness. Sometimes, these berries are generally sweetened and cooked or sweetened and dried in order to deduct their tartness.
Cultivation of Cranberries :
Cranberries are those unique fruits which can grow and survive only under some special condition and combination of factors. Acid peat soil, proper amount of water supply, and season from April to November is needed to grow good and fresh amount of cranberries.
Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in beds, like strawberries, layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay, as seen above in the picture. These beds are usually known as bogs or marshes and were originally created by glacial deposits. Commercial bogs use a system of wetlands, uplands, ditches, flumes, ponds and other water bodies that requires a natural habitat for a various kinds of plant and animal life. Wetlands help the water in control maintaining the water table, acting like the nature’s sponge where water is stored and purified.
Cranberries are mostly grown in Northern part of the United States of America. Majorly in the states like Massachusetts, Oregon, Wisconsin.
Nutritional and Health Benefits of Cranberries :
Well! Judging a book by it’s cover? Let’s not, because cranberries are not just pretty looking plant, but it also consists of various nutritional health benefits that makes the body healthy. While having found many health benefits, researchers are also on a go to search more and more as they are certain that cranberries have large extent of benefits for humans that are still to be found. Cranberries are filled with chemical nutrients- calcium, magnesium, boron, silver, iodine, iron, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, minerals, vitamin V, C, PP and K groups
Let’s talk about the health benefits that cranberries provide us with,
Cranberries are filled with antioxidants and high nutrients that makes them super healthy. Cranberries are also considered as super food as half cup of these berries contains only 25 calories.
2. Removes Urinary Tract Infections:
Nutrients in cranberries reduces the risk of UTIs. Cranberries have been used as a home remedy in regard to the treatment of bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs), which causes frequent and painful urination. Cranberries have the power to acidify the urine therefore, killing the bacterias that causes UTI.
3. Contains Proanthocyanidins:
Cranberries contain Proanthocyanidins, also known as PACs. Proanthocyanidins are not only of the most powerful antioxidants available today, but play a significant role in preventing several diseases. This complex is so powerful due to it’s mixture of several types of antioxidants that function effectively in different parts of the body. Also, they help to strengthen the immune system and refresh the formation of T-cells. They can help to block coronary heart diseases as they help in strengthening of the artery walls, preventing atherosclerosis (hardening of artery walls). They have anti-inflammatory properties and can bring relief from pain caused by auto- immune diseases like arthritis. They may be beneficial in diabetics since they improve blood circulation (also to the capillaries) resulting in protection of the eyes from deterioration. They also helps in controlling blood sugar level.
4. Brings benefits to the gut:
Adding Cranberries to the diet, provides benefits the gut. Cranberry polyphenols– Polyphenols are known for the impact on genes and gene expression. A person’s specific genes can also affect how their body acknowledge certain types of polyphenols. Polyphenols may even influence gut bacteria. so these may build up an interaction with other bioactive compounds in cranberries that could protect the gut microbiota. Also, it provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory behaviour that benefits the cardiovascular system, metabolism, and immune function. This interaction may intensify the gut to fight against infection.
5. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases:
Polyphenols present in cranberries helps prevent cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular diseases generally block the blood vessels the supply the heart or narrow them, severely leading to heart attack or stroke. This prevention happens by stopping the platelet build-up thus decreasing the blood pressure by the anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
6. Benefits Dental Health:
Worried about that tooth decay taking place in your mouth? Don’t be, because the proanthocyanidins in cranberries helps you fight the bacteria that binds to teeth. But, to notice further consumption, cranberry juice available at the supermarkets are not as healthy as the natural ones. The reason is that, while processing the juice, manufacturers tend to add heavy amount of sugar in it because of it’s originally tangy and bitter taste. Therefore, affecting your oral health resulting in a tooth decay. Hence, when you head up to the aisle of cranberry juices, make sure to pick up limited stock that doesn’t affect your teeth.
7. Reduces The Risk of Cancer:
The nutrients available in Cranberries offers reduction in the risk of various types of cancers like breast, prostate, liver, colon, etc,. It also helps in slowing down the tumour progression. Cancers that take place due to radical damage to the DNA, can be gradually cured because of the extracts and anthocyanin present in cranberries.
8. Gets You Glowing Skin:
The most sorted formula for girls out there, not wanting to eat healthy but wishing for the perfect skin and perfect glow on their face, has been found. Cranberries is made of around 98% water and also consist of 24% Vitamin C, giving nourishment to the skin. Water keeps the skin hydrated and hydration is the key to the healthy and clear skin. So, eat delicious and keep that skin flawless.
9. Prevents infection In Pregnancy:
Due to the flavonoids contained in cranberry, it grows the elasticity of blood vessels and improves the procedure of digestion of vitamin C in the mother’s organism while pregnant. Also, just like how cranberries fight UTIs, it also fight the bacterial infections during pregnancy in the same way. The main thing is that cranberries has the tendency to stop the bacteria, thus, blocking their further production of organisms.
10. Grows Your Good Cholesterol [HDL]:
Cranberries can activate the production of good cholesterol hereby, lowering the risk of LDL that is the bad cholesterol, only if taken in the right amount. Too much consumption can cause damage to the body. By this benefit, risk of heart attack, obesity and diabetes can also be taken care of.
Well, what’s more? There are many dishes that can be cooked and made out of cranberries. With this delicious looking fruit. Think of what would be the feeling if you can have additional dishes side by side completely made of cranberries. Some of them are:
First, to start with Salad:
Cranberry And Baby Spinach Salad-
For this, you will need,
Now, method to make this is as easy
- Clean the baby spinach and place it in a serving bowl.
- Heat the oil in a sauté pan over the medium heat.
- Add pine nuts and sauté it until they turn medium brown in colour.
- Add garlic and dried cranberries and stir it properly for about 30 seconds
- Now, add the Zesty Italian salad dressing and let it cool down a bit and next, pour the mixture onto the baby spinach
- And your salad is ready to serve.
Some side dish after salad?
a cup of cranberry juice
1/2 cup short grain white rice
¼ cup leeks, chopped
Salt and pepper
¼ cup feta Cheese, crumbled
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Boil the cranberry juice in a small pan over medium heat.
- Now, take another sauce pan and pour olive oil in it on high flame
- Add leeks, salt and pepper in it and stir until the leeks start getting translucent.
- Now add the rice and stir lightly until rice is coated with oil.
- Then, pour the heated cranberry juice in the rice- Stir and cover it up and turn the heat to low flame for 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and now add Feta cheese and dried cranberries and stir well.
- Serve while hot.
Side dishes are best with Sauces-
Cranberry Jalapeños Relish-
12 ounces cranberries i.e. 35 grams, whole fresh or frozen,
½ cup sugar,
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced,
¼ cup cilantro, chopped fresh.
- Finely chop cranberries in food processor and pour it to a bowl
- Cut lime with the peels on into small chunks
- Chop fresh Cilantro and add it to the cranberries along with lime, sugar and jalapeños and mix well
- Chill it for over 2 hours for the taste to blend in.
- Now, serve it as a chilled sauce with any side dish.
Time for some Main Meal-
Sweet plus Kicky Meatballs-
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 cups beef broth (or one 13 ¾–ounce can)
1 tablespoon minced parsley.
- Except the broth, combine the remaining ingredient in a large bowl and divide into quarter cups and shape them into balls.
- Now, heat the broth in a big skillet
- Next, cook the meatballs in the broth turning each in every 10 minutes.
- Now place it in oven proof casserole and pour cranberry sauce on top of it.
- Bake on 350 degrees in oven for about 30 minutes.
- Although it is ready to eat, but if you want, add some sour cream and crispy bread crumbs on top.
- Serve it hot with salad or baked potatoes.
Above were some ideas for how to add cranberries in your diet in daily life. Also, Cranberries add flavour to your life with all it’s taste and delicious dishes, be it a salad or sauce or appetisers or any main dish. It works for all.
Side Effects :
Cranberry juice on a daily basis can result in stomach upsets and diarrhea. Drinking too much of Cranberry juice daily can lead to the chances of kidney stones as the juice contains huge amount of chemical called oxalate.
The juice can also cause aspirin allergy as it contains specific amount of salicylic acid. Ignore drinking large amount of juice in order to prevent from aspirin allergy.
Isn’t it great to get a fruit having almost all kinds of health benefits that protect your body? However, besides the mild side effects of Cranberries, they are fun to eat and are deliciously healthy fruit. Avoid consuming too much of cranberries on a regular basis and eat in an appropriately scheduled diet. It is best when eaten as a raw fruit, thus, absorbing all the nutrients and minerals existing in it.