Food Focus: Cranberries

Sauce, drinks, dried...this time of year, we want them all!

Cranberries are native to North America, which is why they are such a huge part of our Thanksgiving feast! Due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content, they are often referred to as a superfood. And you know I am always about adding in more superfoods. Half a cup of cranberries contains only 25 calories.The nutrients in cranberries have been linked to a lower risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure.

The high level of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries helps to stop certain bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract walls, which is why it is often used for those uncomfortable UTIs.

Some evidence suggests that the polyphenols in cranberries may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It does this by preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure, through anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

Research has shown that the nutrients in cranberries can help slow tumor progression, and that they can have a positive impact on prostate, liver, breast, ovarian, and colon cancers.
The PACs in cranberries may also benefit oral health! They prevent bacteria from binding to teeth, according to researchers at the Center for Oral Biology and Eastman Department of Dentistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Cranberries may also be beneficial in preventing gum disease!

They are high in Vitamins A, C, K as well as fiber and antioxidants. So why not throw them into a clean drink and toast to your health? Here is my favorite holiday cocktail!

Sparkling Cranberry Lime Elixir

Servings: 12 -15 drinks

  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 2-3 limes

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 3 cups unsweetened cranberry juice

  • 24 ounces club soda sparkling water

  • Lots of crushed or cubed ice

  • Optional: fresh mint, cinnamon sticks​

  • If you want to mix with alcohol, use a shot of vodka per drink (or less!)

Additional Reading and Resources:

Photography: Brooke Lark

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