6 Amazing Health Benefits of Cranberries

6 Amazing Health Benefits of Cranberries

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benefits of cranberriesCranberries are big this time of year. They grace our holiday tables in sweet sauces and glazes. They lie nestled in quick breads, stuffing — even in granola bars. It’s a shame we don’t hear much about them during the rest of the year because cranberries are actually one of the top antioxidant-rich foods — rivaling spinach, blueberries, and green tea.

Here are six amazing health benefits of cranberries, and why you should make them a diet staple.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). Cranberries have been used for years to prevent UTIs. It appears that their high levels of antioxidants called proanthocyanidins help reduce the adhesion of certain bacteria to urinary tract walls, which in turn can help to reduce the incidence of UTIs.

Dental health. The same phytonutrients in cranberries that help prevent UTIs may also benefit our dental health, by preventing bacteria from sticking to our teeth. An added bonus: The anti-inflammatory effects of these phytonutrients can also help to reduce inflammation in and around our gums, which helps to reduce our risk of periodontal disease.

Inflammation. Cranberries  have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect, which can potentially benefit conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, stomach and digestive disorders, and our cardiovascular system, particularly the lining of our vessel walls.

Ulcers. Certain types of stomach ulcers are related to a particular type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, and it’s possible that cranberries may help prevent this bacteria from attaching to the lining of the stomach, similar to how they can help prevent bacteria from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract.

Cardiovascular Disease. Cranberry’s benefit on cardiovascular health is likely due to a combination of factors, including cranberry’s antioxidant effects, anti-inflammatory effects, and potential improvement of HDL and LDL cholesterol. The polyphenols may help prevent the build-up of plaque on vessel walls, and the antioxidant components of cranberries are also linked to a reduction in blood pressure.

Protect against cancer. Researchers continue to identify more and more ways that cranberries are beneficial in slowing tumor growth, and have shown positive effects against certain types of cancer, including prostate, lung, breast, and colon cancer.’

Fresh cranberries are ultra-tart but are low in calories and sugar (46 calories, 2 grams of sugar per cup). Many people, unfortunately, don’t know what to do with them if they aren’t canned, jellied, or dried. But, thanks to sites like Pinterest and some creative chefs, there are many ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet.

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