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Cranberry

Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium that is grown throughout North America, a member of the Ericaceae family. Cranberry gets its name from “crane-berry” because its stem and flower resemble the head, neck, and beak of a crane. It has a long history of use among Native American Indian tribes, primarily for treating urinary conditions. Among the fruits and vegetables richest in health-promoting antioxidants berries such as cranberries rank right up there at the top of the list. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA.

 

It contains vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and zinc. It also contains vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, E (alpha tocopherol) and vitamin K (phylloquinone) and many more vitamins and minerals.

 

Urinary health is what cranberry juice is best known for, but the tart drink is beneficial for other reasons as well. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, substances thought to help promote a healthy immune and cardiovascular system. Unsweetened cranberry juice can also help prevent a build-up of dental plaque in the mouth by decreasing the number of bacteria present on the gums. Cranberries are very good for the heart in several different ways. They help to lower the bad cholesterol levels which can clog the arterial walls. They also help to prevent plaque from forming on the arterial walls, which can lead to atherosclerosis, (the hardening of the arteries). As a result, your chances of a stroke are reduced, and if you have suffered from a stroke, cranberries can help you to recover from it.

 

Cranberries are high in antioxidants, which help to flush out your system. This in turn improves your metabolism and digestive system so that you can begin to lose weight quicker. Fresh cranberries are available from October until December. In the store, choose berries that are bright red, plump, free from wrinkles with intact skin, firm to touch, without any cuts or cracks. Studies have also suggested that regular consumption of cranberry juice inhibits the development and spread of lung, breast, colon, prostate and other cancerous tumours. Cranberry juice contains a high amount of salicylic acid which can help reduce swelling, prevent blood clots, and eliminate tumours.

 

Cranberries contain substantial quantities of salicylic acid, which is also present in aspirin. People who need blood thinners and are prescribed aspirin should avoid consuming too much cranberry juice. Intake of cranberries should also be restricted if you are allergic to aspirin.

 

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