Why Cranberries May Become the New Super Berry on Your Table

By Sandy Schroeder

Reaching for cranberry juice in the morning, when you suspect a UTI (urinary tract infection) is a well known solution that many women rely on. Researchers say drinking cranberry juice may cut the frequency of urinary infections by as much as 40 percent.

But new evidence from nutritional researchers tells us this sweet/tart berry may pack an even bigger health wallop for the whole body.

Researchers, B. Blumberg, and colleagues, published a “Cranberries on Gut Microbiota and Cardiometabolic Health” study in Advances in Nutrition, July, 2016, that suggests cranberries may help us in four major areas:

  • Improve gut health
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Keep the heart healthy
  • Balance blood sugar

In addition, researchers from Dartmouth have suggested cranberries could play an important role in future antibiotic development. They say cranberries contain compounds called proanthocyanidins, PACS, that stop bacteria from attaching to tissues.

Looking Closer

Cranberries deliver Vitamin C and fiber with only 45 calories per cup. They also provide disease fighting antioxidants that may be even more powerful than healthy picks like strawberries, spinach, red grapes, apples, or raspberries, according to WebMD. They are only outranked by blueberries in total antioxidant capacity.

How to Use Cranberries

Buy fresh cranberries from October through December and store them in the fridge. Or buy frozen and serve them cooked. Use dried cranberries all year long. When you buy cranberry sauce and juices check the label for extra sugar content. Then start using them in snacks, breakfast, dinners and desserts.

  • Mix cranberries with other dried fruit and nuts for snacks.
  • Drink 100 percent cranberry juice.
  • Freeze cranberry juice into popsicles for summer treats.
  • Mix cranberries into muffin, pancake and bread mixes, or yogurts.
  • Turn them into accents for chicken and pork dinners.

As you plan fall menus and think about Thanksgiving, you might want to try this cranberry relish out on your family.

Easy Cranberry Orange Relish from Epicurious.com

  • One navel orange
  • One 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • A half cup sugar
  • An eighth teaspoon cinnamon
  • Finely grate 2 teaspoons zest from orange.  Discard peel and pith from orange and cut into sections.
  • Pulse cranberries with zest, orange sections, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely chopped. Cover and chill for at least two hours. Note – the relish can be kept for three days in the fridge. Serve it with turkey, pork or chicken.

Try a few cranberry choices and keep serving the ones that you and your family like. Their tart, sweet taste is easy to sell, and their antioxidant and overall health powers may be among the best.

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