The health benefits of cranberries are countless. These wonderful little berries have the most antioxidant molecules out of almost all fruit. They’re part of the so-called “fruits of the forest” group and they’re also known as bilberries.
Besides their common use in gastronomy (especially for desserts) cranberries are used a lot in herbal medicine because they have the following properties. They’re:
In fact, cranberries are one of the most nutritious foods that we can include in our daily diet, along with spinach, kiwi, celery, or beets.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
In addition, cranberries are an essential ingredient that aid in the detoxification of the body.
1. Improves eyesight
Did you know that cranberries are recommended for infections and disorders in the arteries of the eyes?
Well, they are. Due to their high content of vitamin A, known as retinol, they’re good for eye health and, therefore, they’re good for your eyesight.
Also, consuming them regularly can be very beneficial if you’re suffering from glaucoma, a disease that’s characterized by increased eye pressure, among other symptoms.
2. Protects from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes
Cranberries are rich in polyphenols. That’s why consuming them regularly helps to prevent illnesses associated with metabolism, which includes cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
3. Treats Urinary Infections
Additionally, these berries are natural antiseptics (due to their antibacterial property). This is a very effective remedy for urinary infections.
Therefore, cranberry juice is ideal for people suffering from inflammation of the bladder, cystitis, or kidney infection.
They have a purifying function that detoxifies the body from harmful substances.
4. They’re Excellent for your skin
Since they’re a great source of antioxidants and vitamins, cranberries are ideal for maintaining skin health because they stimulate collagen production.
Plus, since they’re rich in antioxidants they delay premature cellular aging.
5. Strengthen your immune system
According to a series of studies that were conducted at Oregon State University, it was found that cranberries contain a compound derived from stilbene, which works in a similar way to vitamin D.
This helps to strengthen your immune system and, therefore, improve your defenses.
6. Improve digestion and intestinal transit
Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins. These are substances with a non-stick function in the body which prevents harmful bacteria from sticking to the walls of the gastrointestinal tract.
Of course, this function helps to avoid stomach ulcers and prevent dental plaque (the main cause of gingivitis and tooth decay) as they prevent the proliferation of bacteria.
The nutritional properties of cranberries
By incorporating 100 grams of cranberries into your diet, you get the following nutritional values:
Calories 0 kcal
Water 21 g
Carbohydrates 49 g
Proteins 74 g
Total Fat 33 g
Minerals 24 g
The good thing about cranberries is that you can eat them dried or fresh.
However, it’s recommended to eat them when they’re fresh in delicious smoothies or in fruit salads accompanied by: bananas, strawberries and apples, among others. You can also eat them with a delicious natural yogurt as a snack.
Types of cranberries
- Black American cranberries. These are bluish black in color and are larger than common cranberries. These’re especially rich in vitamin C.
- Red or sour cranberries. These are small pale pink berries that are very popular in northern Europe, Asia and North America.
- Small red cranberries. These are from northern Europe and Asia. The plant is characterized by its triangular leaves.
- Red American cranberries. These are native to Canada and the United States and its taste is similar to apples.
How do you choose cranberries and how do you store them?
You have to look at their color and texture when choosing them. The best quality are bright and intense in color, and are dry and firm to the touch. On the other hand, soft cranberries are no good.
To conserve them, try to:
- Separate the moldy ones from the fresh ones.
- Keep them in the refrigerator.
- Throw away the ones that have white mold, fuzz or simply have a whitish color.
- You can spread them out on a tray and let them dry in the sun.