Cranberries are a quintessential fall and winter fruit. This is because their tart flavor and juicy texture pairs perfectly with the rich, fatty flavors of Thanksgiving dinner. But they’re also a healthful food you should be eating year-round, not just during the holidays.
Cranberries are not only used to make cranberry juice for holiday cocktails but are also used in sauces, jellies, jams, juices, syrups, desserts, baked goods, drinks including tea and tisanes (herb-infused teas), and more. They can be eaten raw or dried and even frozen whole.
With that in mind, here’s why you should give cranberries a try:
Cranberries are packed full of antioxidants, which can help ward off certain cancers and heart disease. In fact, cranberry juice has been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Cranberries may be small but they’re mighty when it comes to hydration. They contain a significant amount of water compared to other fruits – about 90 percent – which makes them a great hydrator after a workout or on a hot summer day.
- Prebiotic capability.
The sugars in cranberries are prebiotics, which promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics are more than probiotics – they encourage the growth of existing bacteria rather than adding new bacteria to your system. And unlike probiotics, prebiotics don’t need refrigeration, so you can take them anywhere!
- They’re linked with healthy urinary tract function.
Researchers have discovered that cranberry juice may be effective in preventing bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder or urinary tract, which can cause infections or UTIs.
- Cranberries can fight kidney stones
Cranberries are rich in compounds called flavonoids, which have been shown to prevent calcium oxalate crystals from forming in urine—the main component of kidney stones. Eating cranberries may help reduce your risk of developing this painful condition.