A potent package
Cranberry is an absolute powerhouse of nutrition wrapped in a small red package, and that it contains more antioxidants per gram than any other fruit. They contain natural compounds called proanthocyanidins (PACs) that helps in not only keeping the flu virus from sticking around but also helps prevent (or clear up) urinary tract infections.
Friends since high school, these four women look forward to their monthly bake-offs at each other’s homes where the conversations run the gamut from career to childcare to nutrition.
Eileen had phoned earlier and begged off, saying she still wasn’t over a bad cold.
Sandra was concerned. “That’s the third time this year she’s been sick. You know, I haven’t had a cold all year. This is my secret weapon,” Sandra said, as she unbagged her fresh cranberries for the muffins she planned to bake. “I’ve been including more cranberries in my diet for about a year now, and I’m really impressed with the results.”
The only member of the group who hadn’t been sick during the cold and flu season, Sandra discovered that the cranberry is an absolute powerhouse of nutrition wrapped in a small red package, and that it contains more antioxidants per gram than any other fruit.
What’s in These Red Rubies?
Cranberries contain natural compounds called proanthocyanidins (PACs), which are believed responsible for the antistick factor that helps in not only keeping the flu virus from sticking around but also helps prevent (or clear up) urinary tract infections.
Proanthocyanidins, also found in other foods such as grapes, wine, and chocolate, can be further distinguished into subunits. Cranberries have PACs that contain unique subunits called A-type inter-flavonoids, which appear to inhibit bacterial adhesion, while fruits containing just the B-type PACs, such as grapes and blueberries, do not.
Researching the Red Benefits
Urinary tract health Many studies have shown that drinking cranberry juice twice a day helps prevent certain bacteria, such as E-coli, from sticking to the urinary tract. Preventing urinary tract infections also helps prevent the kidney stones sometimes associated with this condition.
Anticancer University of Illinois scientists conducted lab studies in 1996, published in the journal Planta Medica, demonstrating the potential anticarcinogenic properties of cranberries, and recent research at the University of Western Ontario, using an animal model, found that human breast cancer cells showed significantly lower incidence of tumour
development when the experimental group’s diet was supplemented with cranberries.
Heart benefits The free-radical busters, flavonoids, are plentiful in cranberries and, in ongoing research, have demonstrated promise as a natural defense against atherosclerosis.
Dental health A component unique to cranberries–a high-molecular-weight nondialysable material–has been shown, in clinical studies, to reverse and inhibit the binding of microorganisms to each other and oral surfaces, reducing dental plaque, a major cause of periodontal disease.
Sandra told us she drinks unsweetened cranberry juice with breakfast every day and adds dried cranberries to her morning cereal or oatmeal. As Sandra later pulled her cranberry muffins from the oven she told us, “I’m going to pick up some cranberry juice on my way home and drop it off with a basket of these yummy muffins for Eileen.”
Nutritional Composition of Cranberries
100g (1 cup) fresh cranberries =
Calories 46 kcal
Carbohydrates 10.8 g
Fats 0.7 g
Calcium 7.0 g
Fibre 1.4 g
Vitamin C 11.0 mg
Phosphorus 6.0 mg
Iron 0.2 mg
Magnesium 4.5 mg
Vitamin A 40.0 IU
Potassium 67.0 mg
Folic Acid 2.0 mcg
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
Men’s health across the life course
Theodore D. Cosco, PhD (Cantab) CPsychol