Often I feel like the “food police” telling my clients and friends what not to eat. Today, I would like to recommend something that is tangy and sweet and can lead to better health, and you don’t have to look any further than your local grocery store. I’m talking about the native cranberry.
We know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables have shown to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke.
The cranberry, research has shown, has various compounds, one being proanthocyanidins (PACs), with a wide-range of effects including antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral activities. These compounds have been shown to reduce blood pressure and inhibit inflammation. In fact, the PACs in cranberries sets it apart from grapes, apple juices, raisins, green tea, and chocolate, which do not appear to produce some of the same activities.
Research has shown that many forms of cranberries are beneficial for heart health.
In fact, a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, showed a significant increase in HDL (the good cholesterol), by consuming cranberry juice cocktail daily. This is important because high levels of HDL are associated with a decreased risk of developing CVD.
It’s also great to know that cranberries are naturally low in calories, fat, and sodium; and being plant based, they are cholesterol free.
They are also a good source of potassium and dietary fiber. One cup of raw, whole cranberries contains just 47 calories, and four grams of fiber. Cranberries can be served a variety of ways including, as a side dish, juice, or added to your favorites heart-healthy baked good. For inventive ways on how to use cranberries I would recommend visiting the following website: http://uscranberries.com/ (opens new tab or window).
Harvest season is between September and October, with the peak market period running through December. So before we no longer see these healthy berries in our stores go out and pick some up. You can store the cranberries in the original, unopened bag in the refrigerator for up to two months. For longer storage, put the bag in the freezer where they will keep for a year. Also, it is recommended not to wash them before storing, as this could lead to spoilage.
Happy Holidays, and I hope you enjoy my suggestion for a tangy and sweet food that is good for your health. Try my Cranberry Salsa Recipe.