Cranberry has long been a holiday season staple, and for good reason! You’ll see cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table or cranberry juice in your cocktail (or mocktail). And don’t even get me started on the great debate between canned vs homemade cranberry sauce — that’s a completely different topic we’ll save for another day.
Whether you’re baking with, juicing, or garnishing the turkey with cranberries, you really can’t go wrong with this zesty superfood. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of cranberries and cranberry juice.
Cranberries are rich in antioxidants, which can help fight off free radicals (the toxins like pollution that we’re exposed to in our environments). Antioxidants help to clear out oxidative stress before it accumulates in the body, protecting against many diseases.
The vitamin C in cranberries helps to promote a healthy immune system. Vitamin C can also reduce acne for smoother skin. It’s no wonder that cranberries are so popular in the winter months, as cold and flu season ramps up.
Good For The Gut
Aside from the immune-boosting benefits of cranberries, they also support the gut and urinary tract health. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when harmful bacteria stick to the walls of the urinary tract. One of the primary health benefits of cranberry juice is how it can help clear out these harmful bacteria and prevent them from sticking.
Cranberry juice can also be hydrating, and help with chronic constipation in some cases. Often, constipation can be caused by dehydration. Drinking cranberry juice can help to rehydrate the body and can help stool pass more easily.
Cranberries also have been shown to help with oral health, reducing the bacteria that stick to our teeth after eating. Reducing bacteria can help stop plaque from forming, and reduce damage to tooth enamel.
But Wait, There’s More!
I bet you thought this small, tart fruit couldn’t get any better. Cranberries can have a significant impact on heart health. Lowering blood pressure and decreasing cholesterol levels — cranberries really can do it all.
The flavonoids in cranberry can help to soften arteries, making it easier for blood to flow and reducing strain on the heart. There are also other compounds in cranberry that help to unclog arteries of cholesterol that builds up.
How to Get More Cranberry
It’s important to note: when we are talking about cranberries and their multitude of health benefits, we aren’t talking about sweetened dried cranberries or sugary juice.
If you are looking to incorporate more cranberries into your diet this holiday season and beyond, look for options without added sugar. You can buy cranberry juice that is unsweetened and dried cranberries without added sugar (this may be more challenging).
You can even buy fresh cranberries to munch on if you like the sour taste, or toss them with a little honey. Sweetening them yourself can help reduce the amount of sugar you consume. No matter how you eat them, cranberries can be a great addition to your kitchen this season!