Friday, November 2, 2007

Cranberries- for health and taste

I love cranberries! Maybe because my favorite kind of fruit is tart and sweet, I always look forward to the Fall season when those fresh, round berries flood our supermarkets, and we can treat ourselves to home-made cranberry sauce, or luscious desserts that prominently feature the beauteous red berry.

And when one of your favorites happens to be full of health benefits, to boot, it makes it even more appealing.

Cranberries are chock full of healing properties. Most of us are aware of the benefits of cranberry on urinary tract health, but I had no idea about some of the other benefits. According to the Cranberry Marketing Committee, cranberries are also potentially beneficial for dental health, heart health and have anti-cancer and anti ulcer properties.

Urinary Tract Health:As we all know, drinking cranberry juice every day aids in prevention of bladder infections. I know of one person who remained infection free after starting a daily regimen of 2 teaspoons of frozen cranberry juice concentrate per day. Harvard researchers in a 1994 study found that women who drank 300 ml of juice a day had a 58% reduced chance of infection. A Rutgers University follow-up study discovered the anti-adhesion properties of the cranberry which "prevents microorganisms from adhering to cells of the urinary tract."


Heart Health: The flavonoids (polyphenol compounds) found in cranberries may "also help prevent the progression of atheroscleroic plaques that lead to cardiovascular disease." A University of Wisconsin study "has already shown that the properties of cranberry juice that could contribute to inhibiting blood clotting, promoting blood vessel diameter and preventing clogged arteries are equivalent to those of red wine."


Dental Health: A 1998 Tel-Aviv University study "determined that the same "anti-adhesion" properties that prevent bacteria from forming in the urinary tract prevent bacteria from forming in the mouth. By creating a "bacteria-inhibiting" effect, cranberries might reduce the formation of harmful plaque that leads to gum disease."

Anti-Cancer: The flavonoid and anti-oxidant properties in cranberries could be beneficial in cancer prevention. See here for more info.

Anti-Ulcer: Research has found that the tannins in cranberries can prevent bacterial adhesion in the stomach lining, including the infamous H. Pylori (Helicobacter pylori bacterium) which causes that nasty Peptic Ulcer.

There are also indications that it has anti-aging properties as well. Check out the Cranberry Institute for more information.

All of this from a bunch 'o berries. It's obviously worth adding more of them to our diets.

Tip On Cooking Cranberries:

Found this little tidbit in Vegetarian Times.

In a saucepan of water, over medium heat, cook the berries for 10 minutes until they "pop". This, apparently, helps lose the tartness. Cooking any longer, however, will make them bitter.


CRANBERRY APPLE CRISP
by Ocean Spray Test Kitchen

sliced tart apples 5 cups

cranberries 1 1/2 cups

sugar 1/3 cup

flour 1/2 cup

brown sugar 1/2 cup

cinnamon 1 teaspoon

butter or margarine 1/4 cup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 inch square baking pan. Pare and core apples. Layer apples and cranberries in pan, sprinkling with sugar as you layer. Mix flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Work in butter until light and crumbly. Sprinkle topping evenly over apples and cranberries. Bake 45 minutes or until apples are tender.


For other cranberry recipes click here.

2 comments:

jess8t8 said...

Delicious and comes with many healthful benefits. Great post!

Incognito said...

Thank you Jess. I have to admit I haven't tried this recipe, but I intend to. :-)