A major commercial crop in certain Canadian and American provinces, cranberries are a group of evergreen shrubs, the fruits of which are now a part of many jams, sauces and juices. The cranberry fruits are originally white, but turn a deep red when they ripen.
Cranberry sauce is now an indispensable part of American and European winter festivals, and is thought to be very rich in nutrients, particularly vitamin C.
Almost 95 percent of the total amount of cranberries produced are processed into food products such as fruit drinks, jams, sauces and other dips; and the remaining 5 percent is sold fresh to the consumers.
Cranberry extracts are believed to be extremely helpful in terms of physical health, and are found to protect and guard against a wide range of diseases.
- Cranberries are a good natural source of fiber, vitamin C and manganese, which help fulfill the nutritional needs of the body.
- Extracts of cranberry are believed to be helpful in preventing tooth decay.
- The high acidic content of cranberries is known to reduce the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract, thereby preventing urinary tract infections.
- The anti-bacterial properties of cranberries, when coupled with its anti-adhesion properties, make sure the bacteria in the bladder and the urethra flush out with every urination.
- Some studies have found cranberry extracts to be effective in preventing colon and breast cancers.
- Laboratory studies have found that cranberry may possess anti-ageing effects, and its supplementation may also increase lifespan.
- Consumption of fresh cranberries is thought to prevent heart disease, cancer and peptic ulcers, since cranberries are a rich natural source of good antioxidants.
- Cranberries are also extremely beneficial for the eyes- they reduce the symptoms associated with macular degeneration, cataract and diabetic retinopathy.
- The flavonoid quercetin present in cranberries protect the body against various potentially dangerous diseases.
- Drinking cranberry juice is thought to help decrease the production of bacteria that cause cavity in the mouth and build plaque.
Versatile and rich in nutrients and powerful antioxidants, cranberry is nothing short of being called a power food!