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Natural healing, Thanksgiving edition: cranberries

Health and healing benefits of cranberriesHappy almost Thanksgiving!

As you think about the stuffing, gravy and turkey you’ll be eating on Thursday, don’t forget about one of the most powerful foods on your table, cranberries.

Cranberries tend to be neglected for most of the year until suddenly around the holidays they show up in an unnatural form of can mold. But, cranberries are incredibly healthy and filled with vitamin A, C, E, fiber and several phytonutrients like flavonoids.

Here are just a few of the benefits of cranberries.

  1. UTI protection: Most women know the power of cranberries for UTI prevention and treatment. Research has shown the cranberries’ acidity and specific structure of phytonutrients makes it harder for bacteria to adhere to the urinary tract when consumed. If you can, avoid sugary cranberry juice to treat a UTI though. Many store carry unsweetened cranberry juice, although incredibly tart on its own, try mixing with club soda to make it more palatable.
  2. Digestive benefits: Cranberries can aid in the digestion of food by acting as a probiotic and suppressing bad bacteria. Eating cranberries or cranberry juice after a meal has been shown to reduce inflammation in the stomach and large intestine due to their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Cranberries have also been found to decrease the occurrence of stomach ulcers in some people. Not bad for a little fruit.
  3. Cardiovascular support: Cranberries can improve your cardiovascular health, great news for runners. Studies have shown that the antioxidants and phytonutrients in cranberries can decrease high blood pressure. In addition, cranberries can also aid in the decrease of unhealthy LDL cholesterol and the increase healthy HDL cholesterol.
  4. Improves immunity: As we head into cold and flu season you may be looking for something to up your immunity. Instead of reaching for vitamin C powders or tablets, consider the cranberry. In small studies, the vitamin C and and flavonoids in cranberries have been shown to lower the occurrence of colds and flus. The study conducted was small but promising for future cold prevention.

So pile on the cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving meal but don’t forget about it the other 364 days of the year for its great health benefits.

Written by Lisa Chase / Photo Creative Commons

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