Healthy Beginnings

Cranberries

Whether fresh or dried, baked or raw, cranberries are a healthy addition to any meal (and dessert, too!)

Cranberries – round and plump, bright and festive – add colorful hues of reds and maroons to any Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece. While acting as a gorgeous addition to holiday décor and a colorful garnish to your holiday platter, cranberries also provide numerous benefits to your holiday health.

Cranberries pack a powerful, pucker-inducing punch of tangy flavor. Reaching peak plumpness in October, cranberries are a timely, healthy fruit to incorporate into your autumn snacks and meals. Here’s why:

  • Proanthocyanidins (PACs; type of flavonoids) in cranberries provide urinary tract benefits by interfering with the ability of pathogenic P- fimbriated Escherichia coli (E. coli) to cause infections in the urinary tract.
  • PACs may benefit oral health by preventing bacteria from binding to teeth. However, many commercial cranberry juices and other cranberry products are high in fructose (fruit sugar). PACs also help in supporting digestive health by decreasing inflammation associated with chronic disease and aging.
  • Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, which help boost the body’s resistance against infectious agents and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Cranberries contain antioxidant polyphenols (natural compounds found in fruits and vegetables that are linked to certain health benefits), which are also known to have anti- cancer properties. 
Fresh cranberries contain the most antioxidants, while bottled cranberry juice contains the least. When buying cranberry juice, ensure that you’re buying 100 percent juice – read the label and avoid juices or “cocktails” containing added sugar. Consume cranberries in moderation because they contain sugar fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts. 
Looking for ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet this season? Try these tasty tips:
  • Add a handful of fresh or frozen cranberries into your fruit smoothie.
  • Sprinkle dried cranberries on your oatmeal, whole grain cereal or salad.
  • Incorporate dried cranberries in to your favorite trail mix recipe.
  • Integrate cranberries into your favorite holiday cookie, bread, 
muffin or cobbler recipe.

References:

1. www.health.harvard.edu/family-health-guide/research-backs- cranberries-for-preventing-urinary-tract-infections-in-women

  1. foodfacts.mercola.com/cranberries.html
  2. www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/cranberry/evidence/hrb- 
20059059
  3. www.cranberryinstitute.org/health_research/Healthresearch_HR.html

 

Apple-cranberry crisp: A sweet and tangy twist to your holiday dessert

Cranberries give this crisp a delightful and colorful tartness.
A moderate amount of oil replaces the large amount of butter usually called for in toppings for this dessert. This dessert is best served warm – yum!

Filling:

12 large, green apples peeled, cored and sliced

8 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries

1/3 cup of light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons of whole wheat pastry flour

Juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup of brandy

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Topping:

1 1⁄2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats

3⁄4 teaspoon of salt

1⁄2 cup of light brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup of maple syrup

1⁄2 cup of toasted wheat germ

1 1⁄2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/3 cup of canola or grape seed oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the sliced apples in a large bowl with the cranberries, lemon juice, brandy, 1/3 cup of light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and whole wheat pastry our. Pile the apple mixture into an 8-by 10-inch baking dish.

Mix together the ingredients for the toppings and spread over the apples. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 minutes more until the apples are soft. Serves 12.

Use organic ingredients, when possible.

Recipe derived from Andrew Weil, M.D. and Rosie Daley’s
“The Healthy Kitchen: Recipes for a Better Body, Life, and Spirit”