When it comes to wellness, there’s little doubt our choices of diet plays a big part in our long-term health. The foods we eat influence the type of microbiome that we have. They also have the ability to ward off potential diseases and help the body’s own defense mechanisms. With this in mind, some foods are considered “superfoods” because of the powerful effect they have on our wellbeing. And one of these superfoods is cranberries, which are known to be high in vitamins and antioxidants. The health benefits of cranberries are well appreciated, but they may actually be healthier than we previously thought. Based on the latest research findings, this may be particularly true when it comes to memory.
There are several well-known cranberry facts that should make us want to include them in our diet. These little berries contain a significant amount of fiber as well as things like Vitamin C and Vitamin E. But they also have a variety of other micronutrients that reduce inflammation and prolong life. And in terms of the brain, they also seem to boost memory and help us avoid conditions like dementia. Based on these insights, one can readily make the case for cranberries as an essential component of our diet. The health benefits of cranberries appear to be much broader than you may have previously appreciated.
Cranberry Facts and Insights
In addition to many nutritious vitamins, cranberries also contain other substances that are quite healthy. Some of the less well-known nutrients in these superfoods include flavonoids, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins. While each of these have unique properties, they are all considered antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. (Read more about the great antioxidant debate in this Project Bold Life story!) As such, they have been shown to reduce aging and promote health in a variety of ways. As scientists have learned more about these cranberry facts, they now realize they boost wellness in a number of ways. This has led them to discover a variety of health benefits of cranberries over time.
While these cranberry facts are fascinating, it’s important to note that most people fail to enjoy these benefits. The natural flavor of raw cranberries is quite bitter, and therefore, few people eat the berries alone. Instead, cranberries are often combined with high amounts of sugar and/or consumed as juices. Unfortunately, this greatly diminishes the health benefits of cranberries. Instead, it’s essential to eat the actual berries themselves or drink 100% cranberry juice without sugar. This is the way to reap all the health and wellness advantages these foods have to offer.
Key Health Benefits of Cranberries
Understanding that cranberries are loaded with powerful nutrients, it’s not surprising there are many health benefits of cranberries. Many people may be familiar with the advantages these berries provide in preventing urinary tract infections. The proanthocyanidins in cranberries prevent the bacterium E. Coli from attaching to the bladder. This is the most common bacteria known to cause urinary infections overall. Thus, regular consumption can deter these infections in women susceptible to them. This is one of the best-known cranberry facts that many people appreciate.
Interestingly, however, the health benefits of cranberries go well beyond this. Did you know that cranberries reduce the amount of bad bacteria in your mouth? Cranberry facts concerning the oral cavity show reduce risks for cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. Cranberries are also known to promote healthy bacteria in the body’s microbiome while reducing risks for stomach cancer and ulcers. And they also promote healthy hearts by lowering blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol, and boosting good cholesterol. As you can appreciate, cranberries have far-reaching advantages throughout the body.
The Latest in Cranberry Research
In addition to the health benefits of cranberries cited above, new research has revealed some additional advantages. In a study at the University of East Anglia in the UK, researchers found that cranberries can boost your memory. In 60 participants who ranged in age from 50 to 80, half consumed a cup of raw cranberries daily while the others did not. Over the course of 12 weeks, the results of the study showed that those consuming raw cranberries had significantly better memory retrieval. As a result, the researchers believe these cranberry facts suggest these superfoods could prevent the onset of dementia.
These findings were quite substantial given that the number of people with dementia is expected to increase substantially. Currently, there are about 55 million people with dementia in the world with 10 million new cases annually. By 2050, this number is expected to rise to 150 million people suffering from the condition. If the health benefits of cranberries also prevent dementia, then this would be an easy and cost-effective way to combat the disease. The research also demonstrated that those eating cranberries had better circulation to their brains during the study as well. These cranberry facts and findings thus offer cautious excitement when it comes to dementia prevention.
Including Cranberries in Your Diet
Based on the above cranberry facts, it seems logical that we should want to include these superfoods in our diets. But drinking cranberry cocktail or blended juices isn’t the best way to gain all the health benefits of cranberries. Instead, unsweetened and raw cranberries are ideal, which means thinking about different ways to include them in our meals. One approach is to include raw cranberries with cereals and other foods. Another is to combine unsweetened 100% cranberry juice with sparkling water. Regardless of what you decide, research makes a strong case for including cranberries in our diets on a regular basis. From dementia prevention to a healthy heart, cranberry facts support our efforts in this regard.
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