We all know cranberries play an important role during the Thanksgiving feast, but how big of a role do cranberries play inside of our bodies? How healthy are they? Are they indeed, like some doctors like to call them, a “super food”? In short, yes.
Cranberries are extremely beneficial to your body, and after reading this, you will be able to drop some knowledge bombs on your relatives whenever they say, “Hey, could you pass me the cranberry sauce?”
1. Cranberries Can Help Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Research has revealed specific polyphenols in cranberries that aid in the reduction of cardiovascular disease. What are polyphenols? In short, polyphenols are micronutrients that we get from food that have scientifically
been shown to reduce diseases, cancers, and the like. So how does this cranberry polyphenol work inside the body? Once digested, the polyphenols prevent the build up of platelets in the blood, as well as reducing overall blood pressure due to the fact that cranberries are natrual anti-inflammatories.
2. Cranberries Play Key Role in Urinary Tract Infections
Commonly known as UTI’s, urinary tract infections affect both men and women, but mainly women. If you’re reading this and you knew one fact about the health benefits of cranberries before clicking on this article, this was probably the fact you already knew. This is cranberries’ one-hit-wonder, if you will. Think of it as the “Gangnam Style” in the cranberries album of benefits. But why are cranberries so important in the treatment of UTI’s? It all has to do with a little guy named proanthocyanidins (another form of polyphenols), or PACs, for short. PAC’s are basically condensed tannins, and are extremely
powerful antioxidants in the body. PAC’s role in the body is to remove dangerous free oxygen radicals from the cells.
So how do these guys help prevent urinary tract infections? PAC’s do this by reducing the adhesion (sticking together) of certain types of bacteria that gather along the urinary tract walls, which then fights off infections and recurrent UTI’s. Pretty impressive for a cranberry, right?
3. Cranberries Are Serious Cancer Fighters
To round out this powerful fruit’s arsenal, cranberries wouldn’t be complete without giving you a dose of incredible cancer-fighting nutrients. How do they do this? Scientifically, it’s complicated, but I’m going to try to break it down for ya. Cranberries have a plethora of ways to fight cancer. First, cranberries can block the expression of MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases), then they can inhibit ODC (ornithine decarboxylase enzymes) which is crucial because ODCs, once expressed, have shown to lead to seizures in the brain, and the inhibition of them is used to treat many different types of cancers. These cranberries than
stimulate QR’s (quinone reductase enzymes), and finally they trigger apoptosis–programmed cell death–which has shown to kill and eliminate tumor cells.
So, as you can see, cranberries do a lot more than you thought! Heck, they did a lot more than I thought before I dug into the research. So how can you use this information?
I write these articles so that not only are you using MealFit to make better dietary decisions in your life and for your family, but I like writing these articles to help the community of MealFit learn what actually goes on inside the body once these healthy foods are introduced.
Plus, you can use these little nuggets and pearls of information as an amazing conversation starter, or something to break the ice with on a first date (actually, don’t do this, she/he will probably think you’re a nerd, but who cares!)