The cranberry has long been associated with the holiday season, and no Thanksgiving feast would be complete without at least a few cranberry dishes. In addition to the delicious taste of the cranberry, however, this wholesome fruit has many important health benefits as well. The cranberry is very high in a number of important nutrients, in particular, a variety of important antioxidant vitamins. Nutritionists and other experts all talk about the many benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and cranberries are an excellent way to fit five servings a day of fruits and vegetables into even the busiest lifestyle.
How nutritious is the Сranberry?
In addition to its role in optimizing overall health and fitness, the cranberry is thought to play a role in reducing the occurrence of urinary tract infection. The reason for this effect is thought to be the proanthocyanidins (PACs) contained in cranberries. These PACs have been shown to prevent certain types of bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract.
The PACs contained in the cranberry are also thought to help prevent gum disease and stomach ulcers, using the same anti-adhesion mechanism.
There is growing evidence that the phytonutrients and antioxidants contained in the cranberry and other fruits may help to protect against a variety of diseases, including such potentially life-threatening conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
Antioxidants gain their healing power through their ability to fight the harmful effects of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are part of the normal processes of the cells of the body, but they can be quite damaging to health. Antioxidants work to mitigate the damage caused by free radicals, and therefore they are thought to play an important role in preventing degenerative diseases and even retarding the aging process.
Fortunately for those who want to include more cranberry products in their diet, these products are plentiful, inexpensive and available all year long. Fresh cranberries are available in many major grocery stores and supermarkets for the majority of the year, and when they are not available, there are plenty of canned and frozen cranberry products to take their place.
In addition to fresh, canned and frozen cranberries, there are a number of excellent cranberry based products on the market. In addition to the cranberry sauce that is part of every traditional Thanksgiving celebration, there is cranberry juice and even cranberry pudding. With all these choices, it is easy to fit more cranberries into just about any diet. And with all the health benefits cranberries contain, there is no reason not to enjoy more of this tasty treat.