I'd bet that most women are familiar with one particular health benefit of cranberries, preventing UTI’s. Did you know that cranberries have a whole host of other health benefits? Let’s take a look:
5 Health Benefits of Cranberries
1 – UTI prevention: Let’s start with the big one. Research has shown that certain properties in cranberries act as a barrier to bacteria that might latch on to the urinary tract lining, thus preventing infection. If you find yourself with a UTI, drinking cranberry juice may not be an immediate solution, but for women who have recurring UTI’s, drinking pure cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail, sweetened with sugar) regularly may help to reduce the frequency of infection.
2 – Cardiovascular health – Studies have shown that dietary intake whole cranberries (as opposed to extracts/pills) have protective benefits for the cardiovascular system. By eating the whole cranberry, you get the synergistic effects of all of the compounds in the cranberry. By contrast, when you take a cranberry supplement, it is typically standardized to have a certain amount of an ‘active’ component but skimps out on the synergistic compounds found in nature.
4 – Periodontal Health - The anti-inflammatory properties of cranberry can help lower the risk of periodontal disease. Chronic high levels of inflammation around the gums can damage the tissues that support the teeth. The phytonutrients in cranberries help reduce this inflammation at its source.
5 – Gut Health – The proanthocyanidins in cranberry has been shown to decrease the adherence of the bacteria, Heliobacter pylori to the stomach wall. Research has also shown that cranberries may help optimizing the balance of bacteria in our digestive tract, creating an overall healthier gut environment.
Southwestern Cranberry Relish
I make this dish every year for Thanksgiving and every year I have to make more than I did the previous year because it’s such a big hit. It works great as a sandwich topper, side dish or even with tortilla chips as a salsa.
1 8oz bag cranberries
1 small jalapeno pepper
1 small red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup cane sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
In a food processor, coarsely chop the cranberries. Finely chop the onion and jalapeno. Mix all ingredients to dissolve the sugar. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight, mixing a few times to distribute the flavors.