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Benefits of Cranberries

Published 7/7/13

What is a Cranberry?

The cranberry plant is a type of evergreen dwarf plant or evergreen trailing vine. Cranberry shrubs feature dark pink flowers, lean stems and tiny evergreen leaves. After being pollinated by bees, the flowers give way to a dark white fruit that matures to a dark red as it grows to be slightly larger than the leavers. Cranberries are typically grown in colder regions, such as  regions of the United States, Canada and Europe. These tarty berries can be consumed whole, as a sauce, as a supplement, or consumed in a liquid state as cranberry juice.

It should come as no surprise that cranberries are one of the healthiest fruits on the planets. Cranberries have been used for many years as the go-to fruit for fighting anything including the common cold, kidney infections, urinary tract infections, dangerous free-radicals roaming the body and much more.

Cranberry Nutrition

One serving of raw cranberries, roughly 110-grams worth, packs a powerful punch of nutrion. One serving includes 20% DV of dietary fiber, 24% DV of vitamin C, 7% DV of vitamin E, 7% Dv of vitamin K, 20% DV of manganese, 4% DV for total carbohydrates, while only containing 3% DV of calories. 

Cranberry Health Benefits

Anti-Oxidants: Cranberries are a very rich source of powerful antioxidants. There are many different types of antioxidants found in cranberries including phenolic antioxidants, resveratrol antioxidant, piceatannol, triterpenoid, proanthocyanidin antioxidants, anthocyanin antioxidants, flavonoid antioxidants, and triterpenoid antioxidants. All these antioxidants consumed together make cranberry a very powerful and beneficial fruit as antioxidants track down and kill dangerous free-radicals throughout that body that can cause permanent damage. This permanent damange results from oxidative stress due to the process of oxidation, which occurs when molecules within the body lose electrons to electrically-chanred molecules of oxygen within the blood stream. These oxygen molecules that become electrically charged are called "free-radicals" and have the ability to cause damage to the body's DNA. This damage is often irreversible and can increase the risk of cancer and other diseases.

Digestive Tract Benefits and Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection: Cranberries benefit the entire digestive tract and digestive process including the mouth, gums, stomach and colon. Research has shown that eating cranberries can help optimize the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract. Cranberries also contain many phytonutrients that have been shown to aid digestive tract health. The proanthocyanidins in cranberries also help protect against and cure urinary tract infections (UTI's).  A common treatment for UTI's is drinking 2-3 glasses of 100% cranberry juice. 

Prevents Cancer: As a result of their high antioxidant content, cranberries are shown to prevent colon, breast, lung, and prostate cancer. Studies show that cranberries are able to prevent both the development and multiplication of cancer cells. Most research has been done of cells and animals, but there is little doubt that there is a connection between cranberries and cancer prevention. 

Fights Common Cold & FluAlthough there is not as much research about the connection of immune system benefits and cranberries, there is quite a lot of research showing how cranberries help prevent and cure common colds and flus. Cranberries work to flush out unwanted and harmful toxins that might bring harm to the immune system. This allows our immune system to not only stay healthy and strong but also helps the immune system work more effectively when fighting a cold or flu.

Anti-Inflammatory: Cranberries are a great anti-flammatory mainly because it contains many different phytonutrients. These anti-inflammatory characteristics benefit blood vessels and the entire cardiovascular system as well as the gums, stomach, large and small intestines, and the rest of the digestive system. There are times where inflammation can be beneficial for the body but for the most part it is unhealthy and can cause diseases and illnesses such as arthritis and asthma. 

Aids Cardiovascular Health: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics results in cranberries being very beneficial for overall cardiovascular health. Cranberries have been show to prevent the triggering of two enzymes, which are connected to combating the atherosclerosis process. Atherosclerosis occurs when the blood vessels walls thicken and results in blood flow being slowed down and possibly interupted. By keeping the blood vessels healthy and preventing atheroschlerosis, blood pressure remains at a healthy balanced level, benefiting the heart and overall health. 

Healthy Skin: The abilities of the antioxidants found in cranberries not only benefit the cells and molecules within the human body but also benefits the skin. Antioxidants slow down the aging process of skin cells and prevent wrinkles and ineleastic skin. 

Conclusion on Cranberries

Cranberries are a great source of nutrition for your body and can provide many wonderful health benefits. Whether you consume cranberries as part of a salad, by drinking cranberry juice, through a cranberry extract, or by simply eating them whole and raw as a healthy snack, they are a great part of any diet. 

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