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Cranberries Aren’t Just For Cranberry Sauce

CranberriesDuring the holiday season, many dinner tables are set with a dish of cranberry sauce, a concoction of cranberries and gelatin that most people only see at this time of year. While cranberry sauce can be a tasty holiday treat, this is not the only way to consume these berries. Many people choose to juice cranberries for the numerous health benefits they provide. Here are some of the health benefits you can expect from juicing cranberries.

Cranberries have antioxidant benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits, and anti-cancer benefits. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. Whole cranberries contain nutrients that protect our cardiovascular system and our liver. Cranberries may also help prevent attachment of bacteria to the stomach lining, reducing the risk of some types of stomach ulcers.

For many years, researchers believed that the strong acidity of the cranberries helped to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Recent research has shown that it’s the unusual nature of their proanthocyanidins (PACs), not the acidity of the cranberries, that is related to prevention of UTIs. The special structure of these PACs acts as a barrier to bacteria that might otherwise latch on to the urinary tract lining. In some studies, UTIs have been reduced by more than one-third through dietary consumption of cranberries.

Cranberries are often water-harvested, meaning that they are grown in bogs and floated in water to allow for easy harvesting. The cranberries floating on top of water get exposed to increased amounts of natural sunlight, increasing the phytonutrient health benefits of the berries. The amazing array of phytonutrients in cranberries has gotten the special attention of health researchers. There are at least five key categories of health-supportive phytonutrients in cranberries.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends a target goal of at least 5 fruit-plus-vegetable servings (combined) per day. Berries should be included within your fruit servings at least 3-4 times per week. Juicing cranberries is a great way to get more berries into your daily diet, even if you do not like the taste of cranberries, because they can be combined with other ingredients to make them more palatable.

Holiday Lemonade Recipe

Ingredients

Apples – 3 medium
Cranberry – 1/2 cup, whole
Ginger – 1/4 thumb
Lemon – 1/2 fruit
Orange – 1 large

Directions

Process all ingredients in a juicer, shake or stir and serve.

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