Cranberries: Nature’s Sassiest Berry

With cooler temperatures, we welcome to the table nature’s sassiest berry: the cranberry. Not just for the Thanksgiving table, cranberry’s acidic tartness can add bright, distinct flavor to many dishes this season.

 

Cranberry Nutrition

The cranberry not only kicks your tongue with tartness, it also wakes up aging cells, puts out metaphorical fires in your body that cause cancer, and keeps your heart pumping. Cranberries contain flavonoids, which have been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases of aging like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Cranberries are especially good at protecting the body from cancer. A phytochemicals found in cranberries have been shown to stimulate a kind of cancer cell suicide. These compounds cause the cancer cells to die, leaving the normal cells healthy. If this information makes you want to buy a cranberry supplement to prevent cancer, remember that eating whole, nutritious foods like cranberries is more effective. Always talk to your dietitian or doctor before starting a supplement [i][ii].

 

Ways to Eat Cranberries

Including cranberries in your diet takes some decision-making. Cranberries come in so many forms, including dried, fresh, frozen, juice, sauce – it’s practically endless! But in terms of health, not all are created equal.

Partially to counteract cranberry’s natural tartness, some cranberry products have a lot of added sugar. Cranberry juice cocktail, for instance, has more sugar than soda. And dried cranberries can practically be considered candy. All this added sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer – all the diseases you’re hoping to fight by eating cranberries.

For cranberries closer to their natural state, try fresh or frozen. You’ll avoid the added sugar and let fresh cranberry shine.

This Thanksgiving, skip the gelatinous cylinder of cranberry sauce and make your own from fresh cranberries. We promise it tastes out-of-this-world better. Try this simple recipe or this one with no added sugar.

We get it — you can’t wait until Thanksgiving to get your cranberry on. In the recipe below, fresh cranberries add a delightful tartness to nutty bran muffins. These breakfast muffins will give you the power to show the day who’s boss.

 

Cranberry Bran Power-Breakfast Muffins
Ingredients
  1. ½ Cup unbleached white flour
  2. 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  3. 1 Cup wheat bran
  4. ¾ Cup brown sugar
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. 1 tsp baking soda
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. ½ Cup walnut pieces
  9. 1 Cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  10. 1 egg
  11. ½ Cup milk
  12. 1 Cup orange juice
  13. 1/3 Cup canola oil
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine flours, bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Combine egg, milk, orange juice, and canola oil in a separate, large bowl.
  4. Add dry mixture to wet and mix until just combined – do not over mix.
  5. Fold in cranberries and walnuts.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Print
Adapted from Whole Grain Council
Adapted from Whole Grain Council
Savor Health http://savorhealth.com/
 
References
[i] Neto CC. Cranberry and blueberry: Evidence for protective effects against cancer and vascular diseases. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2007; 51(6): 652-664. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.200600279/abstract
[ii] Seeram NP, Adams LS, Zhang Y, Lee R, Sand D, Scheuller HS, Heber D. Blackberry, Black Raspberry, Blueberry, Cranberry, Red Raspberry, and Strawberry Extracts Inhibit Growth and Stimulate Apoptosis of Human Cancer Cells in Vitro. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2006; 54(25): 9329-9339.
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