Contributing Monkie GreenChef Staff Monkies
Published on January 12, 2008
Blueberries tart red cousin, the cranberry (also called bounceberries because they bounce), still grow wild as a shrub. Now they are cultivated in low trailing vines in bogs of sand, pean and clay – growing mainly in Washington as well as Oregon, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Cranberries are one of the few berries native to North America. The cultivated cranberries are twice as big as the European cranberry. They are harvested between late September and November, just in time for the holidays.
Cranberries pack a fierce nutritional punch into such a small package. High in vitamin C, A, fiber and loaded with anti-oxidants. Emerging research has suggested that cranberries are good for everything from promoting oral health, heart health, preventing kidney stones, lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol, to preventing cancer.
Probably the most recognized benefit of including a healthy dose of cranberries in ones diet, is it’s effect on the health of the urinary tract. Cranberries have been valued for hundreds of years as a preventative for UTI’s. Recent studies have confirmed their effectiveness. They work in multiple ways, by acidifying the urine, through a natural anti-bactrial in the cranberry called hippuric acid, as well as a sugar called D-mannose and tannins called proanthocyandidins that prevent bacteria from adhering tot he walls of the urinary tract. Blueberries also have these same tannins and sugar, and work equally well.