It’s officially cranberry season. This is the time of year that the red berries start showing up in the produce aisle, and we couldn’t be more pleased. There’s a world of possibilities for these nutritional powerhouses beyond the Thanksgiving or Christmas table – though we do love us some homemade cranberry sauce. Whether dried or fresh, cranberry benefits belie their humble appearance.
Cranberries – The Ultimate Superfood?
For one, they’re jam-packed with antioxidants. Cranberries contain more of these cell-protecting compounds than many other superfoods including blueberries, spinach and broccoli. They also offer a wealth of nutritional benefits. A one-cup serving of fresh cranberries offers 24 percent of the daily-recommended value of Vitamin C, 18 percent of the DRV of dietary fiber and 20 percent of the DRV of manganese.
Cranberries Can Help Prevent Disease
Cranberries also deliver a wealth of phytonutrients. These are the natural compounds that protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs and other threats. When consumed by humans these compounds can help prevent disease. In cranberries these compounds are:
Phytonutrients In Cranberries
- Anthocyanins –Shown to promote weight loss, lower cholesterol and fight breast cancer.
- Quercetin – An anti-inflammatory compound shown to relieve joint pain.
- Benzoic Acid – A killer of harmful bacteria and what makes cranberries powerful for treating a UTI.
- Epicatechins –Shown to be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and some cancers.
But Wait, There’s More Cranberry Benefits!
Natural properties in cranberries can also keep cavities at bay. According to a study published by the University of Rochester Medical Center, “[100 percent] cranberry juice acts like Teflon for teeth, making it difficult for the bacteria that causes cavities to cling to tooth surfaces. Stickiness is everything for the microbe Streptococcus mutans, which creates most cavities by eating sugars and then excreting acids that cause dental decay.”
OK, now that you’re sold on cranberries’ nutrition benefits how to get more into your diet (besides in sauce form)? Luckily, that’s the easy part. We keep a bag nearby to snack on. Of course, that’s just dipping a toe into the cranberry bog. If you want to dive in, here are a few other ways to celebrate cranberries this month and every month.
Our 11 Favorite Cranberry Recipes
- Cranberry Mole
- Dried Cranberry and Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad
- Cranberry Spinach Salad
- Sweet and Spicy Cranberries and Pumpkin Seed Mix
- Granola with Cranberries & Raisins
- Dried Cranberry Turkey Wrap
- Cranberry and Plum Stuffed Turkey Burgers
- Dried Cranberry & Apricot Braised Lamb Chops
- Brussel Sprouts with Cranberry
- Dried Cranberry-Apple Conserve
- Curried Carrot Soup With Yogurt