Cranberries are one of the world’s most nutritious superfoods and also happen to be one of North America’s native crops. Typically grown in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, cranberry peak season is typically from October to November. Although cranberries are famously known to be a staple for Thanksgiving dinner, they have much more to offer year-round.
Cranberries are known to contain a number of vitamins that are beneficial to our health. Of all the berries, cranberries contain the least amount of sugar and the highest level of antioxidants per serving. Additionally, the fruit is packed with fiber and vitamins C, A, and K. Overall, the high doses of vitamins and minerals found in cranberries are proven to be heart-healthy as well as cancer and disease-fighting.
As previously mentioned, the nutrients found in cranberries have been proven to be beneficial to our health by helping reduce the risk for certain diseases. The following are a few of the health benefits of cranberries:
- Help prevent Urinary Tract Infections due to the antioxidant proanthocyanidins, which stops bacteria from sticking around in the urinary tract
- The nutrients found in cranberries have been proven to slow down tumor growth in cancer patients
- They are highly anti-inflammatory, easing symptoms for people with inflammatory diseases such as arthritis
- Polyphenols found in the fruit may help reduce blood pressure and help with other cardiovascular diseases
- They may also help stop bacteria from binding to our gut and our teeth, benefitting our oral health and helping those who suffer from stomach ulcers
- They may help improve digestion as they are packed with fiber, which is great for overall gut health
- They will help keep your immune system strong due to high levels of vitamin C
How to Enjoy
Many people don’t know what to do with cranberries outside of the holiday season. Although the fruit makes for a great sauce, it can end up loaded with added sugars. Additionally, its tart taste may be a difficult one for most people to enjoy in its raw state. A few ways to enjoy cranberries include:
- Adding them to smoothies
- Adding them to your homemade oats and baked goods
- Make homemade popsicles
- Make homemade compote using a natural, low-sugar sweetener
Experts recommend avoiding cranberry juice as well as dried cranberries due to the high levels of added sugars. The sweeteners added may make the fruit easier to consume, but the negative effects of consuming the sugars will outweigh the wonderful benefits cranberries have to offer.