What Are The Health Benefits of Cranberries?
Love cranberries? We do too! Cranberries are much more than just delicious though. In fact, cranberries can be classified as a bonafide superfood. Can't eat enough of the fruit? No worries; there is a myriad of ways to get your fix.
From juices to jams, to sauces--you can find cranberry in many forms right at your local grocery store.
Prefer supplements? They work too! You're probably getting excited about some cranberries now, right? Well, prepare to get more excited. Because its many benefits are about to be revealed and will blow your mind.
What Makes Cranberries So Good?
Of course, starting the list off would be the range of vitamins and minerals found in cranberries. Just a single cup of cranberries contains:
-Vitamin C: 36% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
-Manganese: 17% of the RDI
-Fiber: 14% of the RDI
-Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
-Copper: 9% of the RDI
And in terms of phytocompounds,
Health Benefits of Cranberries
Prevents Urinary Tract Infections
Cranberry has long been known to help prevent urinary tract infections. In fact, ask most people and they will be quick to point this out as a "natural;l remedy".
But, it's actually true. This is because cranberry contains compounds that can prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract, including the bladder. This helps to flush out bacteria before it has a chance to multiply and cause an infection.
While any amount of cranberry will help to prevent UTIs, it is recommended that you drink at least 8 ounces of cranberry juice or eat 1-2 cups of cranberries per day to get the best results.
However, since it is unlikely that you will consume 1-2 cups of cranberries daily, the juice is usually a better option for a quick fix.
Cranberry juice is a great way to get your daily dose of cranberry, but make sure to choose a juice that is low in sugar. If you don’t like cranberry juice, you can also eat dried cranberries or take cranberry supplements instead (or better yet- in powdered form)
Did you know that cranberry can also improve cognitive function? This is due to the presence of compounds known as anthocyanins, which can improve blood flow to the brain and protect brain cells from damage caused by free radicals. This increased blood flow can provide the brain with more oxygen and nutrients, which can help improve alertness or learning ability.
Cranberry has also been shown to enhance brain health by reducing inflammation and promoting the growth of new brain cells.
This makes cranberry an excellent choice for anyone looking to improve their cognitive function and protect their brain health. Inflammation is involved in many diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, and can damage brain cells. These new brain cells can help replace those lost due to age or disease.
Just keep in mind that the development of new brain cells is much slower in adults than compared to kids or teenagers; so temper your expectations in this regard.
May Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Cranberries can also help to lower cholesterol levels. This is due to the presence of proanthocyanins which can inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. Additionally, cranberry juice contains polyphenols which work to improve lipid metabolism, helping lower LDL and triglyceride levels while raising HDL levels.
In addition, the removal of bile from the body can also help to reduce cholesterol levels. Bile is a substance produced by the liver that helps to break down fats. When bile is removed from the body, the liver has to produce more, using up cholesterol in the process.
Improved Recovery Time
Cranberries contain a treasure trove of recovery enhancing that can help reduce inflammation and speed up recovery time after strenuous exercise. Compounds such as quercetin and kaempferol can improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.
This is important because inflammation can cause damage to muscles, tendons, and joints. By reducing inflammation, these compounds can help to mitigate the amount of damage caused by exercise and speed up the recovery process.
Better Hydration Levels
Cranberries are rich in water and electrolytes, both of which are important for proper hydration levels. If you find it difficult to stay hydrated during exercise, drinking cranberry juice or eating dried cranberries may be helpful.
But in reality, the water and electrolyte minerals it contains does the job nicely. So, owing to the fact that cranberry juice likely contains added sugar which you are not going to want during your workout, we advise you to top up your micronutrient levels and just drink a lot of water to get the job done.
May Assist With Blood Flow
Did you know that cranberry could also help improve blood flow and better muscular pumps? Cranberry juice has a high concentration of drumroll....proanthocyanins, which are organic molecules that have been shown to improve blood flow and circulation.
Additionally, cranberry juice is a rich source of antioxidants, which can help protect the vascular system from damage. This combination of effects makes cranberry juice a valuable tool for athletes who are looking to improve their vascular health and performance.
Supports The Immune System
By now, it is well known just how important Vitamin C is for immunity and overall immune health. You can find Vitamin C in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including oranges, broccoli, and, of course, cranberries. Just one cup of cranberries contains 16% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. This powerful nutrient helps to keep your immune system functioning properly by promoting the synthesis and differentiation of white blood cells. White blood cells are an important part of your immune system because they help to fight off infection.
But that's not all. Did you know that a significant portion of the immune system resides in the gut?
In addition to being a good source of Vitamin C, cranberries are also a good source of fiber. Fiber is important not only for maintaining a healthy digestive system but also for the probiotic colonies residing there, which is crucial for a strong immune system.
A healthy digestive system allows your body to absorb the nutrients it needs to function properly, including other nutrients that support immunity. Fiber also helps to keep you regular, which is important for preventing constipation and other digestive issues. Just one cup of cranberries contains 4 grams of dietary fiber.
Reduces Risk of Gastric Ulcers and Stomach Cancer
Gastric ulcers are extremely painful to experience and can be difficult to heal. Cranberries have been shown to reduce the risk of gastric ulcers by preventing the growth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that is known to cause stomach ulcers.
Additionally, cranberries have also been shown to help prevent stomach cancer. The very same bacteria, H.pylori, is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer. Because cranberries have the ability to inhibit the growth of this bacteria, they may also help to reduce the risk of stomach cancer.
In a manner that is similar to the action on bacterial cells in the urinary tract, it is believed that cranberry prevents the bacterial cells from adhering to the stomach lining. This action, combined with the high concentration of antioxidants in cranberries, is thought to be responsible for the gastric ulcer and cancer-preventing effects of this fruit.
Cranberry May Help with Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are a painful condition that can occur when there is a build-up of minerals in the kidneys. When these minerals form crystals, they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.
Cranberry has been shown to help prevent kidney stones by reducing the amount of calcium in the urine. Calcium is one of the main minerals that can contribute to kidney stones when combined with oxalic acid (oxalate), so this effect is very beneficial for people who are prone to developing them.
However, in an ironic twist, cranberry does in fact reduce the excretion of oxalate, the other compound needed for kidney stones to form. This means that, while cranberry does reduce the risk of kidney stones, it may actually cause the perfect storm in a few susceptible individuals if dietary modifications are not made.
Cranberry Enhances Oral Health
Don't see the link between a fruit that has sugar and oral health? At first glance, it's not obvious. In fact, you don't even need to consume the whole fruit or juice. We don't advise it either.
Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that causes gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. While gingivitis is milder than periodontitis—a more severe form of gum disease—it can still lead to serious problems if left untreated. Fortunately, cranberries may help treat gingivitis thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. Consumption of cranberry twice daily for three months can promote improvements in gingival inflammation compared to people who don't consume any cranberry.
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can eventually lead to tooth loss. Cranberries can also help prevent gum disease by keeping plaque from sticking to teeth, although this usually requires a form that may have added sugar.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. If plaque isn't removed through daily brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar, which irritates the gums and causes them to become red, swollen, and bleed easily.
How Should You Consume Your Cranberry?
While getting you cranberry in whatever form is available is a good starting point, there are considerations you need to make.
For instance, while low sugar varieties of cranberry juice exist, they all have some amount of added sweetener to enhance the palatability. This could mean that you end up consuming more calories than you would like.
Plus, the juice needs to be kept refrigerated once opened and typically requires drinking a large amount to get the real benefit.
Cranberries, either fresh or dried, are another good option, taste delicious, and have the major benefit of the fiber still being present. However, would you say you have ever realistically consumed 1-2 cups in a single serving? We haven't either.
Oftentimes, the most convenient way to get your cranberry in is a whole food powdered form. Powdered cranberry preserves the fiber and still offers all of the other nutrients.
Our premium offering Field Of Greens includes cranberry in this form as well as several other synergistic ingredients for optimal absorption.
Additionally, we recommend taking a cranberry supplement that is:
- Pesticide free
- Freeze-dried to preserve nutrients
- Manufactured in North America
Check and check again for Field Of Greens.
Cranberry is an incredible fruit that has a wide range of benefits for your health. While most people associate cranberries with urinary tract infections, this power-packed fruit can also improve oral health, reduce the risk of kidney stones, and help treat gingivitis.
Daily consumption of cranberry, either in the form of juice, powder, or supplements, can help improve your overall health, so why not start today?