Eating a balanced, varied, and nutritious diet is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and happiness. That includes the health of your skin.
Plant-based foods are a great source of essential nutrients, such as antioxidants like flavonoids. They help support detoxification, promote healing and repair, and guard against damaging free radicals.
If, like many people, you only think about cranberries at Thanksgiving, you're missing out. Cranberries are powerhouses of nutrition!
Cranberries are naturally lower in sugar than many fruits, and are particularly rich in antioxidant flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, flavonols, and unique proanthocyanidins. These berries also contain active constituents such as phenolic acids, benzoates, hydroxycinnamic acids, terpenes, and organic acids, not to mention being a great source of vitamin C.
Keep reading to learn about 10 incredible benefits of this small, but powerful fruit!
Thanks in large part to being packed with antioxidants, cranberries can enhance the body’s natural ability to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar and lipid levels for a healthy heart.
Inflammation weakens the immune system and can increase your risk of colds and flu, however cranberries reduce inflammation in the body, therefore helping to improve immune function and reduce your risk of getting sick.
Cranberries are also prized for their ability to protect against infection, especially urinary tract infections. The proanthocyanidins in cranberries have demonstrated impressive antimicrobial activity. This includes helping to protect the gut from colonization with the pathogen Escherichia coli. This protection extends to the genitourinary tract, and is why cranberries continue to be a popular natural health product for preventing recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI).
As a source of ellagic acid, cranberries may also offer support for people with joint pain related to inflammation. Eating cranberries a few times a week can offer relief to people suffering with arthritis or other inflammatory joint conditions.
Cranberries are great for your teeth! Their unique compounds help to prevent bacteria from binding to the teeth and they may also help to prevent gum disease.
Because cranberries are such a rich source of antioxidants, they can help to fight off free radicals that may contribute to the onset of diseases like cancer.
High cholesterol may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, but cranberries help to ensure your cholesterol levels stay within a healthy range.
Cranberries may help to boost memory and prevent cognitive decline so try munching on some before you have a big speech to give or before an exam!
In addition to being a source of antioxidants and essential nutrients, cranberries contain ellagic acid. This polyphenolic compound can help protect the skin against the damaging effects of sun exposure and inhibit the breakdown of collagen for a firmer, smoother and plumper complexion.
Inflammation in the body can manifest as sensitive skin that breaks out or flares up on a regular basis. Cranberries will help to reduce inflammation in the body so you can enjoy calmer and clearer skin.
Cranberries are freshest in fall, but they freeze well, so it's easy to enjoy them all year round.
To enjoy fresh or frozen cranberries, try adding a quarter cup of the fruit to your daily smoothie. Or, blend a handful of cranberries with blueberries, strawberries, apples, or other fruit and make popsicles!
Store-bought cranberry sauces tend to be high in added sugar; so, instead, make your own cranberry sauce at home. Simply add a cup of cranberries and a cup of orange juice to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until the cranberries pop; add some apple pectin if you want a thicker sauce. Add a dash of fresh or dried rosemary and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Serve with plant-based brie, a simple lentil loaf, or any savory dish that could use a little dressing up.Dried cranberries are also readily available. Choose unsweetened dried cranberries, or those sweetened with fruit juice, to keep sugar content low. Eat dried cranberries as a snack with almonds or other nuts, add them to the mix when making granola or granola bars, or eat them with cultured, probiotic-rich, coconut yogurt.
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Stay Ever Well,
Lynne + Renee