5 Reasons You Should Be Eating Cranberries
Widely available in their dried form, these tart and sweet red berries pack a flavourful health punch
In their natural state, cranberries are slightly more bitter and crunchier compared to fresh blueberries, and so, they are rarely consumed raw. Mostly marketed in the form of juices and dried fruit, they are used in cereal and health bars, sauces, chocolates and other confectionery items. It also finds a place in food products and dietary supplements.
Here we take a look at the health benefits these berries provide.
1. Cranberries are a rich source of phenolic bioactives,which may have antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial potential. According to a study in the journal Advances in Nutrition, “There is strong experimental evidence that cranberry bioactives have favourable effects on blood pressure, glucose metabolism, lipoprotein profiles, oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial function.” The study further states that berry fruits, including cranberries, are a rich source of many phenolic acids and flavonoids and that our intake of berries may help increase our intake of these bioactive compounds.
2. Cranberries are rich in manganese which helps control blood sugar levels. A small 2012 study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Science found that drinking just a cup of cranberry juice daily helps regulate blood sugar in type 2 diabetic male patients.
3. With roughly 4 grams of fibre per cup, cranberries contain 16 percent of the recommended daily fibre intake for an adult, says author and New York-based wellness expert Stephanie Middleberg in an article in Women’s Health magazine. Furthermore, the fibre in cranberries is prebiotic, a nutrient that feeds the gut bacteria and helps them thrive, making it great for your digestive health. The high fibre content also ensures that you stay fuller for longer, thereby stopping you from overeating.
4. Packed with the anti-ageing vitamins C, A and E and loads of antioxidants, cranberries help protect skin cells from damage and boost collagen production. This improves the skin’s elasticity and works wonders for rough, dry and ageing skin, keeping it plump and hydrated.
5. Many studies have revealed the positive effects of cranberry on the urinary tract. While the evidence has been conflicting when it comes to cranberry juice, it’s often argued that drinking the juice or having dried cranberry or supplements can prevent urinary tract infections. “There is an active ingredient in cranberries that can prevent adherence of bacteria to the bladder wall, particularly E. coli. Cranberry won’t hurt, but it may help. It could be worth trying if you struggle with frequent UTIs, as the risk in doing so is very low,” explains urologist Courtenay Moore, MD of Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical centre in the US.
Food Tip: Add cranberries to muffins, cupcakes, salads, muesli, health bars, breakfast oats, pulav or mix it with your favourite nuts for a healthy mid-meal snack on the go. You can also use it for sweet meat-stuffing or in pies for a kick of tarty goodness.