7 Juicy Facts About Cranberries

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

To add to the festivity of cranberry-laden holiday meals, Wicked Local Cambridge has come up with seven juicy facts about cranberries you may not know. For example, the cranberry is one of only three fruits native to North America. The naming rights to cranberries, however, go to Dutch and German settlers. Other cool facts have to do with the many uses of cranberries besides eating them, and that Americans use 400 million pounds of cranberries a year.

cranberries

Among those many additional uses of cranberries, probably one of the most well-known is as a remedy for urinary tract infections (UTIs). It’s the phytonutrients in them, including phenoloic acids and triterpenoids, that work against this painful ailment. Note: While cranberry juice has been touted as the go-to substance for UTIs, whole cranberries are actually much more effective.

Cranberries are also an excellent source of dietary fiber (5 grams per serving), and manganese (20 percent of the DRI). A one-half cup serving has only 25 calories.

Part of the beauty of fiber is that it helps move things along in your colon, while at the same time helps optimize your cholesterol, plus it can make you feel more full longer, so you eat less. An added bonus is that it helps control your blood sugar.

Even better, in recent years researchers have identified an increasing number of mechanisms that help explain the anticancer properties of cranberries.

Immune system support is another factor improved by the phytonutrients in cranberries. They’ve been shown to lower cold and flu frequency, although this is an area that is not studied as much as their effect on your heart, which can be severely damaged by oxidative stress.

It impacts your blood vessels as well, and subsequently your risk of atherosclerosis, with studies showing that cardiovascular health, oxidative stress, metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis (blood vessel thickening and closing) to be other areas where the phytonutrients in cranberries and other berry types can exert healing advantages.

In the end, each little red berry is worth its weight in nutritional attributes that can benefit nearly every area of your body, from helping to prevent heart disease, ulcers, UTIs and cancer to providing many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for good health and wellness.