Healing Powers Of Cranberries: Urological, Digestion, Stomach Ulcers & More

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Ruby red, tart, and delicious, the benefits of cranberries go far beyond their ability to promote good urological health. Cranberries have been proven to benefit a host of other bodily systems, organs, and processes. 

We’re going to talk all about that today, but first, we’re going to learn a little more about this wonderful fruit. 

What are Cranberries?

Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccus, or sometimes, in the distinct genus Oxycoccus. They are found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Cranes favour cranberries; hence their name. Although, some sources claim the name is really “craneberry” because when the flower expands, its stem, calyx and petals resembled the neck, head and bill of a crane. In North-Eastern Canada a cranberry is also referred to as a mossberry.

Uses and Cultivation of Cranberries

Cranberries are popular for harvesting in the northern countries. They have been eaten by Arctic peoples for hundreds of years.

In North America, indigenous peoples were the first to recognise and use the cranberry as a source of food.

Certain tribal legends tell of how cranberries were a gift from the Great Spirit sent to earth in the beak of a crane. In Massachusetts around 1620, the Native Americans are reported to have introduced the cranberry to starving English settlers, who incorporated the berry into the traditional Thanksgiving feast. 

Soon thereafter, some areas passed laws to protect the wild berries; only certain people could harvest them at certain times and lawbreakers were heavily fined. Then around 1816, American Revolutionary War veteran Henry Hall allegedly was the first to cultivate the cranberry commercially, in the Cape Cod town of Dennis.

Commercial cranberry fields today are diked in order to be flooded.

When the berries are ripe, they float, making harvesting a matter of flooding the field, shaking the bushes a bit, and skimming off the berries into waiting trucks. Usually, cranberries are served as a compote or jelly, but sometimes they are incorporated in other ways like cranberry juice. 

The berry is often used in baking things like muffins and cakes. Today, modern science is

proving what the indigenous peoples knew from experience, that cranberries are good for you. 

The Benefits of Cranberries

New research is being done every day, so a complete list of the benefits of cranberries would be impossible to compile. However, here we’re going to discuss some of the most common, as well as some of the lesser-known benefits of this beautiful berry.

Promotes Urological Health

From your bladder to your kidneys, cranberries are a superfood for your urological health.  Cranberries have dense nutrient properties with unusual abilities to prevent infectious bacteria from sticking to the cells lining the bladder and urinary tract. 

Quality cranberry juice produces hippuric acid in the urine which acidifies the urine and prevents bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder.

Thus, cranberries help to prevent recurring urinary tract (bladder) infections.

Cancer Fighting Properties

Cranberries are a good source of ellagic acid, a compound that has raised high hopes in cancer research. Ellagic acid has been shown to prevent tumors from growing and to disarm cancer-causing agents.

Cranberries also contain salicylic acid, which also has anti-tumor effects. 

Prevention of Gum Disease

Research concludes that cranberry juice also helps to prevent the formation of dental plaque can eventually lead to tooth decay.

Learn more about natural dental health: Non-Toxic Dental Hygiene and Tooth Care.

Prevents Stomach Ulcers

Cranberry juice contains compounds called proanthocyanidins, which can keep Helicobacter pylori  — the primary bacterium thought to be responsible for ulcers  — from adhering to the lining of the stomach. 

Contributes to Good Digestion

Packed with fibre, cranberries can help improve digestion, while also easing bowel movements. 

Increasing your fibre intake will improve insulin sensitivity and can also aid in weight loss. 

Studies also show that people who eat cranberries have higher amounts of good gut bacteria that are essential for not only a healthy digestion system but your whole brain and body. 

Learn more: How to Improve Gut Health: 5 Easy Tweaks for Everyday Life 

Promote Heart Health 

Cranberries are loaded with heart-healthy antioxidants, which can help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure. 

In fact, cranberries have even been shown to relax arteries clogged with cholesterol, allowing for better blood flow. 

Learn more: How to Reduce Cholestrol and Live Longer.

High in Vitamin E

One of the lesser-known benefits of cranberries is that they are high in vitamin E. Vitamin E is crucial for immune function, helping your body heal faster and better, while also delaying or preventing chronic diseases caused by an influx of free radicals -- diseases like arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cataracts, heart disease, and cancer. 

Cranberry Consumption: How Much is Enough?

There are many ways to enjoy cranberries every day. One of the most common is to drink cranberry juice. One quart of pure cranberry juice per day is the recommended amount. 

Just make sure the juice is 100% cranberry. No cocktails, which contain added sugars and is not concentrated enough with cranberries. Thankfully, finding pure juice won’t be difficult since many brands are now 100 % cranberry juice. 

Dried cranberries do the trick too, which is why we’ve included them in our signature whole food snack and meal-on-the-go, Pulse Sacred Meal. In addition to being delicious, Pulse Sacred Meal is 100% raw and plant-based, gluten-free, handcrafted, Australian made, and free from anything artificial. 

Just keep in mind if you’re enjoying dried cranberries that a serving is a ¼ cup. Natural sugar is good for you, but too much of a good thing can still be too much! You can sprinkle dried cranberries over your oatmeal or coconut yogurt for a delicious, sweet and tart addition to a meal or snack. 

You can also use cranberries in your plant-based baking, as well as in smoothies and smoothie bowls. 

Try this incredible cranberry smoothie recipe and get your fix of this incredible fruit for the day!

Cranberry Mango Smoothie

You’ll need:

¾ cup frozen or fresh cranberries

½ cup frozen or fresh mango

3 handfuls of spinach

1 tbsp stevia or 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 pinch cinnamon

3-4 cubes ice  — more if you’d like a creamier consistency. 

Directions:

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy! 

Whichever way you decided to add cranberries to your diet, it’s worth the effort to enjoy the preventative and restorative properties of this superfruit.

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