Food – Cranberries All Year ‘Round

These little fruits are not just for holidays. Cranberries are great when a few are added to smoothies, which will give your immune system a boost. Yum!

“Cranberries are low in calories (44 per cup), high in fiber, and low in sugar. But like grapes, many of their real benefits aren’t readily apparent from the typical nutrition facts label.

“Studies presented at the 223rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society show that the ruby red berries have some of the most potent antioxidants of any common fruits studied. They possess anticancer properties, inhibit the growth of common food-borne pathogens, and contain antibacterial properties to aid in the prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

“Catherine Neto, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, isolated several bioactive compounds from whole cranberries and found compounds in the berries that were toxic to a variety of cancer tumor cells. ‘The tumor cell lines that these compounds, inhibited most in our assays included lung, cervical, prostrate, breast, and leukemia’, according to Neto.

“Cranberries are high in phenols (also known as phenolic acids), plant chemicals known to be highly protective against a wide range of health problems and conditions. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cranberries had a higher phenol concentration than any of the twenty commonly eaten fruits studied: A ½ cup contains 373 phenols per serving, more than red grapes, apples, strawberries, or blueberries.

“It’s widely known that cranberries help prevent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). This is accomplished by preventing bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. … Recently studies have also revealed that compounds in cranberries stop certain disease-causing bacteria from sticking to the stomach lining, thus helping to prevent ulcers.

“Remember now, we’re talking about actual, raw cranberries here. Once you dry and sweeten them they may still have a lot of the healthful phenolic compounds, but the calories jump into the stratosphere (from 44 per cup to 370 per cup) and so does the sugar. …” 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S., pages 109, 110.

Another Note: “… cranberries aren’t easy to grow. Cranberry farmers often use a variety of chemicals to keep their production rates high … . And most farmers believe chemicals are necessary for growing cranberries. … avoid all the chemicals and eat organic cranberries.”



Cranberry Smack

1/2 cup or more fresh cranberries (or thawed) 1/2 cup pitted dates
1 large orange, peeled  
In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, or hand processor, process all ingredients until the desired chunky texture is reached. I blend until mostly smooth. Use on oatmeal or on toast. It is delicious! Makes about 1½ cups.