Yes, Cranberries are Paleo!
Cranberries and UTI
Cranberries are bitter, tart berries that are native to North America. They belong to the family Ericaceae together with blueberries and grow as wild shrubs. Cranberries have glossy red color and tart tangy flavor. They are usually consumed in juice form but of course the fresh version is always the healthier option. Cranberries can be made into juices, sauces and its dried form can be added as ingredient in stuffing, casseroles and desserts.
Cranberries have long been valued for its ability to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTI). According to researchers, even low concentrations of cranberry juice can ward off the bacteria that cause UTI. That is because the antioxidants found in cranberries prevent the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract, thus reducing infection.
Cranberries and Nutrition
Cranberries provide an astounding array of beneficial nutrients. They are famous because of their high vitamin C levels especially when raw. They are also rich in dietary fiber, managanese, copper, vitamins C, E and K.
Raw cranberries are source of phytonutrients including phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, and flavanoids such as quercetin, myricetin and kaempferol. These phythonutrients offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits have shown positive effects on the human body.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
The benefits of cranberries do not stop with its UTI-treating power. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can promote cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.
High Amounts of Antioxidants
Cranberries contain anthocyanadins, potent antioxidants also found in blueberries. Antioxidants fight inflammation and free radical oxidation in the body that helps prevent aging, disease, and other health problems.
The important anti-inflammatory properties of cranberries are beneficial both for the cardiovascular and digestive systems. The phytonutrients are responsible for effectively lowering the risk of unwanted inflammation in the stomach, colon and blood vessels.
Immune System Boost
Vitamin C acts as a natural potent antioxidant in cranberries and it helps block the damage caused by free radicals as well as boosting the body’s resistance against infectious diseases. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant in cranberries that is involved in immune function that may help prevent chronic diseases associated with free radicals.
Cranberries can increase heart health by lowering levels of bad cholesterol while increasing the levels of the good ones and decreased risk of high blood pressure, thanks to the antioxidants present in it.
The flavanoids found in cranberries provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits that can reduce the risk of colon cancer and periodontal disease. Proanthocyanidins in particular can decrease the adherence of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach wall that causes stomach ulcers.
Cranberries are popularly known for its role in preventing and treating urinary tract infections.
It is not surprising anymore that cranberries have anti-cancer benefits since it is loaded with antioxidants. These antioxidants can reduce the risk of cancer development in the prostate, liver, breast, ovary and colon by slowing tumor progression.
Cautions on Cranberries
If you are one of the few who are taking warfarin, a prescription anticoagulant medication to prevent formation of blood clots, you may want to limit consumption of cranberries as this may cause increased bleeding.
Other Names for Cranberries
What Experts Say About Cranberries
“Cranberries promote urinary tract health, but they are also good for the gastrointestinal tract and the mouth. Recent studies have shown they may play a role in helping to reduce the risk of kidney stones, as well as lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Not too shabby for this sour little fruit!” – Mark Sisson
“Similar to glucose in structure, D-mannose is a naturally occurring sugar that is found in a number of fruits, including apples, blueberries, and cranberries. (3) This sugar is the reason that cranberry juice has been commonly recommended as a UTI treatment, though it is far easier to get the recommended dosage from a supplement. D-mannose is effective because it attaches to E. coli bacteria, causing them to stick to each other and preventing them from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract”. – Chris Kresser
All you ever wanted to know about Cranberries and Paleo
Paleo Leap. Paleo Foods: Cranberries
Mark’s Daily Apple. Cranberry Juice and UTIs
Paleo Porn. Are Cranberries Paleo?
Mark’s Daily Apple. This Antioxidant Powerhouse Is in Season
Paleo Grubs. Paleo Diet Food List
The Paleo Mom. Cranberries
The World’s Healthiest Foods. Cranberries
Medical News Today. Cranberries: Health Benefits, Facts, Research
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photo credit: Karish Kobal cranberries