The Health Benefits of Cranberries and Cranberry Juice

indexCranberries have long been known as one of nature’s super foods.  They are rich in Vitamin C, vitamin E and fiber while also containing vitamin K and manganese.  Cranberries can help protect the body from free radicals and may help with cancer prevention as well as assisting with easing inflammations, improving immune functions, lowering blood pressure, reducing dental plaque, preventing kidney stones and preventing yeast infections.

Cranberries are probably best known for their treatment or prevention of urinary tract infections.

Many years ago sailors carried cranberries with them on trips to avoid scurvy which is a disease caused by severe lack of vitamin C.

Cranberries are grown in Canada and the northern part of the United States.  They are harvested in September and October.  Fresh cranberries may be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of months.  Cranberries are available fresh, frozen, canned, dried and as cranberry juice.  Be sure to check food labels in order to avoid added sugars.

Cranberries work well when added to baked goods, mixed into a salad, added to trail mix, added to cereals, and included in fruit pies.

If you prefer your cranberries as a drink look for pure unsweetened cranberry juice and not cranberry juice cocktail. Cranberry juice is dark red in color and may taste tart and strong.  You can help this by diluting it with some water.  If you are buying a mixed juice containing cranberries look for cranberries as the first ingredients.

If you take blood thinners you may want to avoid a large amount of cranberries since it may increase bleeding.  If you have had kidney stones check with your health care professional before eating or drinking cranberries.  Large  excessive amounts of cranberry juice which is acidic may harm the enamel on teeth.

In moderate amount cranberries do not seem to cause problems for most people.  If you have any questions whether cranberries are right for you be sure to check with your health care professional.  Excessive amounts of any food or drink, no matter how healthy,  are not a good idea.