4 tips for getting the most from cranberries

October 9, 2015

Once served almost exclusively at turkey dinners, researchers are discovering cranberries are packed with important vitamins and nutrients. Here's some tips for getting the most from these berries.

4 tips for getting the most from cranberries

1. Buy them when they're ripe

  • When buying fresh cranberries, look for firm, bright red fruit.
  • Berries that are at their peak will bounce when dropped. Those that don't are likely to be soft and past their prime.

2. Use them to fight bacteria

  • Cranberry juice has long been used as a home remedy for cystitis, and to prevent kidney and bladder stones.
  • Cranberries contain a natural antibiotic substance that makes the bladder walls inhospitable to the organisms responsible for urinary tract infections.
  • Drinking cranberry juice prevents the bacteria from forming colonies. Instead, they're washed out of the body in the urine.
  • If you suffer from bladder infections, drinking a couple of glasses of cranberry juice daily can act as preventative maintenance.
  • See a doctor if symptoms develop or persist. Prescription antibiotics are usually necessary to cure an established urinary infection.

3. Make your own cranberry juice for better results

  • Commercial cranberry juice is often too diluted to be effective in preventing or treating urinary infections.
  • It also contains large amounts of sugar or other sweeteners, so use a juicer to make your own.
  • To reduce the amount of sugar needed, dilute 250 millilitres (one cup) of concentrated juice with 500 to 750 millilitres (two to three cups) of apple juice. Sweeten to taste.

4. Drink cranberry juice to stay healthy

  • Cranberries provide fibre, along with some vitamin C.
  • They also contain bioflavonoids. These plant pigments help counter the damage of unstable molecules that are formed when oxygen is used by the body.
  • Cranberries also contain anthocyanin. This bioflavonoid promotes the formation of visual purple, a pigment in the eyes that is instrumental in colour and night vision.
  • Other studies suggest anthocyanin has an anticancer effect.

Instead of putting cranberries out at Thanksgiving or Christmas, try incorporating them into your regular diet. The benefits could surprise you.

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