Cranberries are grown on vines in freshwater bogs and are found mostly in the northern United States and southern Canada. Cranberries are small, hard, round, red fruits, related to the blueberry. Although fresh cranberries can be eaten raw, many people describe their flavor as both bitter and sour. For this reason, most people enjoy the fruit cooked in sauces or juiced.

Cranberries and cranberry juice contain high levels of phytonutrients, an essential compound for reducing inflammation in the body. Phytonutrients help prevent the build-up of plaque inside the blood vessels and may prevent or delay the onset of heart disease. And because cranberries are high in Vitamin C, they are also vital for healing wounds and promoting healthy skin, blood vessels, and bones.

Because cranberry products are high in vital nutrients, people call this fruit a superfood. Here is a list of the many (but not all) health-boosting benefits:

• Prevents urinary tract infections
• Fights age-related damage that contributes to health problems such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s
• Promotes heart health
• Supports a healthy digestive system
• Good for dental health
• High in Vitamin C
• Good source of Vitamin E which helps to strengthen the immune system
• Aids in reducing cholesterol to support a healthy menopause
• Prevents infection by fighting certain viruses and bacteria

Take a look at some simple, fresh recipes using cranberries, adapted from Prevention.com.

Cranberry-Banana Smoothie

In a blender, puree:
• 1 cup frozen cranberries
• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 1 banana, peeled and chopped
• 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
• ½ cup ice cubes
Pour in a glass and enjoy!

Cranberry Salsa

In a food processor, pulse 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries to a fine chop.
Transfer to a bowl and fold in 1 seedless cucumber, ½ jalapeno, ¼ sweet onion, and ¼ cup cilantro, all finely chopped.
Add 1 tsp honey and ½ tsp kosher salt.
Serve with crackers.

 

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