Vaccinium macrocarpon, is an evergreen shrub growing to 6 ft . It has small leathery leaves and can be found growing in bogs and wetlands from zones 3 through 7. The information in this article refers to American cranberry, not the various high bush cranberry, a vibernum, also known as crampbark, found in nurseries today.
Cranberry has traditionally been used as a treatment for urinary tract infections, (UTI). For many years it was believed that the high acidity of the cranberry lowered the pH of the urine thereby making the bladder a less hospital environment for the bacterium which causes UTI's. In recent years however, scientific studies have shown that the structure of the proanthocyanidins, (flavonoids), actually block the bacterium's ability to attach itself to the lining of the bladder. Researchers are now studying this evidence to see if it could prevent stomach ulcers in the same way.
Cranberry has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, specifically
acting upon the cardiovascular system and digestive tract. The phytonutrients in cranberry that are especially effective in lowering our risk of unwanted inflammation, and virtually all of the phytonutrient categories represented in cranberry are now known to play a role by blocking the cytokines which tell our bodies to start an inflammatory response against against a perceived threat. Dietary consumption of cranberry has also been shown to reduce the risk of chronic, unwanted inflammation in the stomach, large intestine and blood vessel linings. Therefore, anyone with an auto immune disease should benefit from an increase in cranberries in their diet. This cytokine suppressing ability in
addition to high fibre content means that a high dietary intake of cranberries
will help lower your risk of atherosclerosis, plaque build up within the vessels
and lower your 'bad' cholesterol levels.
Nutritionally, cranberries are high in manganese, vitamin C and E and fibre. A 1 cup measure of cranberries, approximately 100 grams, will supply your body with 18% of your daily fibre intake requirements. . We are all familiar with the pictures of cranberries floating on the water as farmers flood the bogs containing the plants. For years this harvesting method was done simply for convenience, it is much easier to use a boom to gather floating berries than
it is to try and pick berries from plants in soft boggy ground. Recent studies
have shown that anthocyanin, the phytonutrients that give the berries their amazing red color, increases in direct proportion to the amount of natural sunlight striking the berry. So having berries floating on top of the water will actually increase the concentration of anthocyanins, making this humble berry even better for you.
So look for ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet, cranberry sauce
is easy to make from scratch: 3 cups of cranberries, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of
sugar and a dash of lemon or lime juice. Boil until the cranberries 'pop'. This can be eaten fresh or canned in a waterbath canner for 15 minutes.
Cranberries make a wonderful addition to pork dishes ad well as some of the
stronger fish dishes. Try some dried cranberries instead of raisins in your
snack foods and baking. As I mentioned in my post from Tuesday, dried
cranberries mixed in chevre cheese with slivered almonds sprinkled
on top is a favourite dessert around here. Cranberries freeze really well, I
always buy pounds and pounds of cranberries when they go on sale after Christmas and store them in the freezer. If you are lucky enough to live near a cranberry grower, find out if they have public tours, they are harvesting now and it makes a great day out with the kids!
or cure any disease. The information presented here has not been verified by