The Amazing Health Benefits of Cranberries
The cranberry has a global history of being a natural but potent antioxidant. People have said that the antioxidants in cranberries help fight off urinary tract infections and prevent dental decay. Many even call cranberry the earth’s urinary tract infection cure.
Is the cranberry fruit all it’s cracked up to be, though? Is it as antioxidant-rich as its proponents claim it is?
Oxygen Radical Absorption Capability
According to medical experts, cranberries are high in a value called ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorption Capability. This value indicates how many free radicals a particular food can absorb and deactivate. The more food can absorb, the higher its ORAC score will be. The higher the score, the higher the ability of that food to help the body stay healthy and fight diseases.
Experts in nutrition estimate that the human body needs to consume roughly 3,000 to 4,500 ORAC units daily to reap the full health benefits. Cranberries pack quite a punch 1900 per 100g of ORAC! According to the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, this is the highest value found naturally in any food, surpassing even all other berries.
Anthocyanins are those neat pigments that give purple, blue, and red plants their color. When you visit the fresh produce section at the supermarket, you’ll notice this one everywhere. Anthocyanin is the phytochemical that changes the color of leaves during the fall season.
Anthocyanin is a type of flavonoid that has potent antioxidant properties, helping to protect the body from oxidative stress. Anthocyanin can help fight free radicals in your body, but it may also have anti-viral and anti-cancer effects.
Substances rich in Anthocyanin have been used for a long time to help treat colds, high blood pressure, and urinary tract infections. Research on this antioxidant indicates that Anthocyanins can assist in preventing heart disease and even cancer.
Regularly eating cranberries will help you stock up on this potent antioxidant.
Proanthocyanidins, also known as condensed tannins, are a powerful antioxidant that helps to remove free oxygen radicals from the body’s cells. Research indicates that proanthocyanidin as an antioxidant is 20 times more potent than vitamin C and 50 times more than vitamin E!
Research indicates that this compound inhibits the adhesion of bacteria to the bladder. It prevents E. coli from attaching itself to the walls and replicating, which reduces the chance of an infection.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that most of us have heard of before. According to experts, vitamin C can:
- boost your immune system
- improve the amount of iron you absorb from your food
- helps fight oxidative damage
- boosts mood and overall mental health
- aids in the repair of damaged body tissues and with wound healing
Regular consumption of fresh cranberries can assist with maintaining healthy levels of vitamin C.
A fat-soluble antioxidant that helps support immune function.
It assists in preventing or slowing down the progression of diseases associated with free radicals, including:
- various cancers
- Alzheimer’s disease
- premature aging
Just a handful of cranberries contain a high amount of fiber. Fiber has many health benefits, including controlling harmful LDL cholesterol levels, suppressing hunger, and preventing constipation and can help with gut health.
While cranberries can provide you with many nutrients, it’s always best to speak to your doctor before making any radical dietary changes.