Small, red and round, cranberries are the only commercial fruits native to North America, states WebMD.2 Although cranberries are typically associated with the holidays, way back when — Native Americans used them for food, fabric dye and medicine. Sailors also ate them to prevent scurvy, reports WebMD.3
Now that you know a little history about the fruit, WebMD4 shares a few easy ways to add cranberries to your diet:
- Drink cranberry juice or spritzer (see recipe below)
- Eat them raw (toss them in a salad, add to your oatmeal or blend them into a smoothie)
- Make cranberry jelly or sauce
- Add them to baked goods (cranberry muffins or cranberry bread)
Here’s how you’ll reap the benefits of eating cranberries:
Improve gut health: If you eat an animal-based diet, cranberries can help put good bacteria back into your digestive system, notes WebMD.5 Also, cranberries can reduce bile acids in the gut that are linked to colon and gastrointestinal cancers.
Boost oral hygiene: Cranberries can help control harmful acids in your mouth, says WebMD.6 The fruit can lessen the amount of acid your mouth makes and keep it from clinging to your teeth. Less acid in your mouth makes it easier to prevent cavities, gum disease and tooth decay.
Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease: Medical News Today7 cites a study that says eating cranberries could help manage several risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease. The study found that cranberries helped people reduce their body mass index (BMI) and improve “good” cholesterol levels.
Substitute eggnog for a refreshing cranberry spritzer
Enjoy this delightful drink from Mayo Clinic.8
- 1 quart reduced-calorie cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 quart seltzer water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup raspberry sherbet
- 10 lemon or lime wedges
Refrigerate the cranberry juice, lemon juice and carbonated water until cold. In a large pitcher, mix together the cranberry juice, lemon juice, carbonated water, sugar and sherbet. Pour into tall chilled glasses and garnish with lemon or lime wedges. Serve immediately. Serves 10.
To lower calories even further, use a low-calorie sweetener in place of the sugar.
Per Serving: 100 calories; cholesterol 0mg; carbohydrates 24g; sodium 9mg; total sugars 22g.