Cranberries are distinguished by their extremely sour taste, due to their low sugar and high acid content.
Cranberries are rich in citric, malic, quinic and other acids. They also contain flavonoids, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and vitamin C. Because of their tannin content, the berries possess a natural astringency.
History of Cranberries
Cranberries were first used by Native Americans, who discovered the wild berry’s versatility as a food, fabric dye and healing agent. Today, cranberries are commercially grown throughout the northern part of the United States and are available in both fresh and processed forms.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
Studies find that there are many more health benefits to eating cranberries that anyone previously supposed.
Research has validated the old saying that drinking cranberry juice will reduce or eliminate instances of urinary tract infection, but other, more recent studies have also linked the lowly cranberry with increased benefits in fighting heart disease and cancer.
· Combating Urinary Tract Infection
The proanthocyanidins in cranberries can inhibit bacteria from attaching to the wall of the urinary tract. This limits their ability to produce colonies and spread infection. It is important to drink lots of cranberry juice if you are prone to urinary tract ailments.
Because they contain flavonoids, studies reported by medical research suggest that cranberries can be a weapon in the war against atherosclerosis, or what they used to call “hardening of the arteries”. Flavonoids help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol clogging the walls of your arteries while increasing the level of good cholesterol in your system.
· Cranberries and Cancer
Research at the University of Western Ontario cites increased ingestion of cranberries as a factor in inhibiting the development of breast cancer cells in animals. Although preliminary, this exciting research shows that diet changes can have an impact on our health and aid in fight disease.
· Other Health Benefits of Cranberries
Cranberries have also been associated with decreased production of cavity and plaque producing bacteria in your mouth, and in reducing the bacteria associated with peptic stomach ulcers.
Add more cranberries to your diet and take advantage of the health benefits associated with this colorful fruit.
The cranberryinstitute.org has an excellent research section with an extensive bibliography if you want additional information about cranberries and your health.
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