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Go Crazy for Cranberries

Organic Dried CranberriesAlong with the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cherry pie, cranberries are a permanent fixture at my Thanksgiving table. And I’m not talking about the kind of cranberries that come in a jellied glob, with the rings from the tin can still visible. I mean real cranberries – the fresh ones, from the grocery store’s produce aisle.

I just don’t love the taste of the small, plump, red berries – I also love how healthy cranberries are. Did you know that cranberries are on the list of the USDA’s top ten high antioxidant foods? Like their cousins, the blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, they have a high skin-to-fruit ratio and are loaded with free radical fighting power. The proanthocyanidin antioxidants found in cranberries promotes heart health. Cranberry is also known for supporting bladder and urinary tract health as well as brain and memory health.

The downside, which you may have already noticed, is that cranberries aren’t the most taste bud-friendly food. The sourness prevents you from grabbing a handful and popping them into your mouth. The tart bite makes it tempting to mix in a lot of sugar to make the cranberries sweet. But before you do that, here are some easy, low-sugar ways to make cranberries part of your everyday diet:

  • When you’re making something that’s sweet (like breads and muffins), toss in chopped cranberries for a fresh taste.
  • Bake them with apples for sweet dessert or treat.
  • Use cranberries along with oranges to make a sweet relish to dress up turkey, fish, cereal or yogurt.
  • Like relish, you can also make a fruity salsa with cranberries, oranges, onions, jalapenos and cilantro.
  • Jazz up your beverages by mixing sparkling water with a splash of 100% cranberry juice.
  • Try dried cranberries and eat them like you would raisins – eat them alone as a snack, or add them into trail mix or sautéed vegetables like green beans and carrots.
  • My favorite way to have cranberries is to mix them into salads or coleslaw where they add a tangy, juicy burst of flavor. 

If you can’t incorporate fresh cranberries, consider adding a cranberry supplement in order to get a daily dose of the berry’s benefits. You can find a natural source of cranberry in products like Swanson Premium Cranberry, Swanson Ultra Super Strength Cranberry Concentrate or Swanson Ultra Cran-Max. Take cranberries beyond the Thanksgiving buffet by using these ideas to make these plump, tart berries a part of your diet.

References: Health Castle

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