Featured Food: Cranberries

Next Thursday family tables will not only be laden with turkeys, pies, rolls, mashed potatoes (although I would cut out the rolls, make mashed cauliflower and make the pie gluten/sugar free), and of course cranberry salad. Cranberries have a short shelf life. Only October through December are we able to enjoy these little gems (that leaves us with just a month more!). So why should you take advantage of the them this time of year, besides as part of your traditional once-a-year feast?First lets start off with their phytonutrient content. There are at least 5:

  1. phenolic acids
  2. proanthocyanidins
  3. anthocyanins
  4. flavonoids
  5. triterpenoids

These work syneristically together to create cranberries antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties. Basically it helps decrease unwanted inflammation, which leads to decreased risks of diseases in the future. Notice that they work best when together (just like the vitamins we looked at earlier this week in isolation they are not as strong as they are when they stand together). Also better in whole form. Not cranberry juices with the tons of sugar, or the dried. The whole fruit maintains the most phytonutrient qualities.

Other benefits:

  • Long-time association with urinary tract infections, it appears that proanthocyanidins (PACs) help provide a barrier to bacteria. Interestingly and promisingly, it seems this may also help with stomach ulcers by preventing bacteria latching onto the stomach lining
  • water harvesting and direct sunlight help to increase the concentration of anthocyanins (one of those phytonutrients that give them their color), which means more health benefits
  • promising studies of them helping improve immunity
  • excellent source of vitamin C
  • good source of dietary fiber
  • good source of manganese
  • good source of vitamin K (check yesterday’s post)
  • they discovered 5 mechanisms in cranberries anti-cancer properties:
  1. block MMP expression
  2. inhibition ODC
  3. stimulation of QRs
  4. inhibition CYP2C9’s
  5. triggering cell death tumor

Wow, pretty impressive for a little tart fruit that we usually only think of once a year or if we get a UTI and try and chug down cranberry juice. Like we noticed here, whole berries rule and we’ll have some recipes coming your way tomorrow. For more on our fat-burner weight-loss programs at bodychange.net.

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