Don't Let Winter Bog You Down: Eat Cranberries!

Legend has it that the Native Americans introduced the cranberry to the early American settlers at the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Since their historic beginning, these ruby red berries have been a tasty addition to holiday meals. Whether you love the cranberry for its holiday food flair or its numerous health benefits, you can’t go wrong with inviting this berry home for the holidays.
 
Cranberry Bogs
Cranberries are one of only three commercially grown fruits native to North America. The home of the cranberry is a ‘bog’, in which cranberries grow on vines in cool, wet soil. After the growing season, the berries are wet-harvested. This means the cranberry bogs are flooded and the berries are beaten off the vine. Since the cranberries contain little pockets of air, they float to the surface for easy harvest.
 
‘Crantastically’ Healthy
Nutrition experts embrace cranberries for their gift of health. One serving of cranberries provides more than 40% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. The real power of the cranberry comes from its disease-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants. These potent plant substances may provide a natural defense against heart disease and certain cancers. Food Science and Nutrition published a study showing that people who drink cranberry juice have higher levels of good (HDL) cholesterol and may have improved blood vessel function. Experts believe that a compound in the whole cranberry (not just the juice) is responsible for this effect.
 
Bye, Bye UTI
Most people are familiar with the cranberry’s role in reducing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI’s). According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there is strong evidence that 10 ounces of cranberry juice a day helps keep the UTI’s away. The science behind it is that cranberries have a unique ability to keep bacteria from “sticking” to the bladder walls.