The truth about cranberries

With a multitude of health benefits, not only are cranberries a tasty addition at upcoming holiday meals, but a healthy one too!

Here’s a breakdown of the latest findings on cranberries, along with tips for including more cranberries in your diet.

Cancer prevention. Cranberries have been linked to the prevention of certain cancers, including breast, colon, brain, oral, ovarian, prostate and esophageal because of a couple of reasons. First, their antioxidant content. Cranberries have a higher antioxidant capacity than strawberries, spinach, broccoli, grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries. In addition, cranberries contain high amounts of anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Bone health. One of the lesser known characteristics of cranberries is the nutrient composition that makes them good for your bones. In addition to antioxidants, cranberries contain vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin K — all of which support bone health.

Heart health. Like other red fruits and vegetables, the phytochemicals that give cranberries a ruby color can help reduce blood pressure and lessen the risk of heart disease.

In the kitchen

If anything, we should celebrate fresh cranberries not just because they’re a low-calorie, high-fiber fruit packed with antioxidants, but because they add an incredible tang to sauces, baked goods, and salads. Here’s how to shop and store this seasonal power berry.

In the Store. Fresh cranberries are sold bagged in most grocery store produce departments from October through December. Look for firm berries with a smooth, shiny, dark red color.

Stock up. When fresh cranberries go on sale, fill your cart. Generally, they last about four weeks in the fridge, but you can freeze unopened bags of cranberries for about a year. That means you can make fresh cranberry bread and muffins year-round. Try the recipe below to add more cranberries to your diet!

Cranberry Smoothie

Serving size: 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 very ripe banana

1 cup fresh cranberries

1 cup nonfat milk

2 or 3 ice cubes

Preparation: Place banana, cranberries, milk and ice cubes in a blender; blend until smooth.

Nutrition information per serving:

117 calories, 0g fat, 2mg cholesterol, 54mg sodium, 445mg potassium, 26g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 15g sugar, 5g protein

Source: EatingWell.com

Fun fact

Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Rachelle Deutz is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Marshall.

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