New study finds cranberries have more benefits than anyone realized

It’s the amazing superfood that usually only makes an appearance twice a year.

I’m talking about the cranberry, that cheery red, tart wonder that somehow got relegated to a side dish during the holidays.

But it’s time to give the cranberry its rightful place in your diet.

Researchers at Tufts University in Boston have just completed a study that found the berry is right up there with some of the most health-promoting foods you can find.

However, before you run out for some artificially-sweetened cranberry juice, there are some easy ways to get the most out this super-fruit without all the sugar or fake sweeteners.

A gift from Mother Nature

I’m sure you’ve heard lots of glowing health reports about the cranberry before. But what a new study discovered has taken the fruit to a whole new dimension of nutrition.

Even the researchers were surprised. Lead author Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg, said that he thinks we’ve “only scratched the surface” in discovering the power of the cranberry.

And that power goes way beyond just helping if you have a UTI. The study found that compounds in the fruit can benefit the heart, immune system and even the brain.

But one of the findings in this research that blew the berry right out of the bog health-wise was that the polyphenols (plant antioxidants) in the fruit work together with other cranberry compounds to protect our beneficial gut bacteria.

As I’ve been telling you over the years, it’s shocking how many illnesses have been connected to an imbalance of gut bacteria. The link between our intestinal microbes and good health — or lack of it — is so important that a national program was established to study it further this year.

And cranberries, the Tufts researchers found, can help protect that “gut defense system” which in turn can help protect us against coming down with an infection.

The Tufts scientists also reviewed several other studies on cranberries that found the tart fruit can help with blood pressure, blood flow and blood lipid levels, as well as being beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes.

Last year I told you about a study on the fruit that found just a half cup of dried cranberries a day could make “visible differences” in the blood glucose levels of the study participants.

On top of that, the berry is high in vitamin C, and can lower your risk of kidney stones.

By now you might be wondering what the cranberry can’t do!

But as usual, Big Food has taken this miraculous berry and served it up to us along with artificial sweeteners and HFCS, which you’ll find in most canned cranberry sauces.

So here are some tips on how to get the most from the cranberry year round without any of those risky additives.

  • Buy whole dried or freeze-dried cranberries, easily available online or at a health food store. It’s also possible to get sugar-free dried cranberries — just the dried fruit with nothing added. While you can find plenty of packaged dried cranberries in the supermarket, they typically contain lots of sugar.
  • Add the berries to oatmeal, dry cereal, cookies, muffins, smoothies, salads — the list could go on and on about ways to have more of this super-fruit in your diet. And while they may be a bit too tart (when unsweetened) to snack on alone, when incorporated into other foods that tart taste can actually become an asset.
  • Get some unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate and add a tablespoon or more to iced or hot tea. You can also mix the concentrate with water and stevia to make your own cranberry juice beverage!

And when the berries are in season again, get an extra bag or two and stick them in the freezer. They freeze wonderfully and can be used to make your own homemade sauce sweetened with stevia and apples.

Sources:
“Cranberries benefit entire body, not just urinary tract” July 19, 2016, NewsMax, newsmax.com