For about the about the first seven years of my life, I believed cranberries came from a can since the only time my family ever served cranberries was for Thanksgiving. While in high school and after being diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, I discovered the magic of cranberries.
This small red tart berry is grown in boggy ground and is native to America. Early Native Americans used cranberries to cure skin rashes and to stop bleeding. As winter approached, they mashed cranberries into meat to sustain them. Also, many sailors consumed cranberries while aboard ship to ward off scurvy. And of course, the Native Americans introduced the cranberry to the Pilgrims in 1621 and by the 1800s the cranberry became a traditional component of Thanksgiving.
According to Rutgers University, cranberries are among the top foods with proven health benefits. Cranberries are loaded with nutrients. Their waxy skin allows them to stay fresh for up to two months and are an excellent source of vitamins C and A.
Some of the health benefits of cranberries include:
• Prevention of urinary tract infections
• Prevention of yeast infections
• Reduction of dental plaque
• Prevention of kidney stones
• Deters cancer
Research has found drinking cranberry juice can block urinary tract infections. Cranberry's anti-adhesion properties, proanthocyanidin minerals, which are found in the fruit help to avoid urinary tract infections. Many women often drink unsweetened cranberry juice to treat an infection. Also, proanthocyanidin prevents plaque formation on teeth.
Regular cranberry juice consumption can kill the H pylori bacteria which can cause stomach cancer and ulcers.
Also, preliminary research shows drinking cranberry juice daily may increase levels of HDL, good cholesterol and reduce levels of LDL (bad cholesterol).
According to MSNBC, cranberries may prevent tumors from growing rapidly or starting in the first place. Extracts of chemicals in cranberries prevent breast cancer cells from multiplying in a test tube; whether that would work in women is unknown.
And finally, cranberries promote the production of collagen.