Let’s be honest; shall we? At this time of year, we all enjoy certain foods. Whether it’s comfort or not, we look forward to eating them. Often times, they highlight a family recipe. They might even remind us of a loved one, or a cherished memory. These foods have become part of our holiday celebrations. Some of us may even be incapable of imagining the holidays without them. And I completely understand. Cranberries, in some form, are definitely part of that culinary echelon. But did you know these little, crimson beauties are actually good for you?
Cranberries are native to North America. Farms in Canada and the U.S. have thousands of acres devoted to this major crop. And we are abundantly grateful to every grower, for it. Cranberries, aside from being downright tasty, provide us with many nutrients and antioxidants. In fact, only blueberries offer a higher antioxidant capacity per serving. They’re also packed with proanthocynidans or PACs that help us to fight — possibly prevent — many diseases. They’re low in calories. And they also provide fiber to our diet. Need I say more?
All of this goodness guards against Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs. It helps those who live with Cardiovascular Disease and Alzheimer’s. Cranberries help with inflammation. That equates to better mobility and possibly less pain, for Arthritis sufferers. They boost our immune system. Hello? Who doesn’t need that! Cranberries can reduce your blood-pressure, lower cholesterol levels, provide better dental health and aid gastrointestinal diseases. If that isn’t enough encouragement, consider this … the goodness of cranberries can slow tumor progression and positively impact many forms of Cancer, i.e. prostate, liver, breast, ovarian and colon.
Cranberries are even good for man’s best friend! Imagine that! For basically the same reasons that humans benefit from eating these berries, our dogs can too! Offer Fido raw, cooked, or dried cranberries in moderation. Juice and sauce are too high in sugar, for our pets. And before you add large amounts of cranberries to your pet’s diet, please talk to your veterinarian. Too much can cause stomach upset. As a pet-owner, it’s important to know where that line is. We want healthy, happy fur-babies.
Aside from all these perks, cranberries are so easy to add to your diet. Many people enjoy eating them raw, or dried, as a snack. When you’re cooking or baking, consider using cranberries instead of raisins. You’ll be pleasantly surprised! Sprinkle some on your tossed salad, too. Eating healthy doesn’t have to equate to eating bland. If you’re planning a holiday party, you might want to try the Cranberry-Avocado Salsa recipe found in the reference links below. It’s quite simply WOW! And you can prepare it, a day in advance. So, it’s a great time-saver too. If you’re looking for a festive, light dessert … try this Cranberry-Apple Crisp (https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/cranberries-year-round-superfood). It’s an easy and awesome way to end a holiday dinner. You could even add a scoop of vanilla ice cream a la mode! Enjoy!
Medical note: If you take a blood-thinner, you should consult your doctor before consuming large amounts of cranberries (due to the Vitamin K content).
* Photo by Henk van der Steege on Unsplash