Cranberries Have Important Medicinal Properties
Cranberries can be very helpful in preventing urinary tract infections. Cranberry juice and cranberry supplements are often used for this purpose. This powerful "cousin of the blueberry" contains proanthocyanidins or "PACS" that prevent certain bacteria, like E. coli, from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. E. Coli are responsible for over 80% of urinary tract infections. If you don't want to drink cranberry juice every day, you can take cranberry supplements. I took CranActin by Solaray for many years and found the product to be very effective. I'm sure there are other good brands available also.
High in Antioxidants
A study revealed that cranberries were found to have an extremely high level of antioxidant phenols. They had five times the antioxidant content of broccoli! Antioxidants reduce free-radical and oxidative damage.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Cranberries are high in flavonoids which help prevent bad cholesterol (LDL) which can lead to artheroscierosis. This "hardening of the arteries" can result in a stroke or cardiovascular disease.
Below are two cranberry recipes. The first one is a simple raw relish. Sweetened by dates, it can be made in minutes. Feel free to add apples or pecans to this relish but grind the cranberries and dates first, add chopped apples and pecans and process again, briefly.
The cooked cranberry sauce below uses apple juice, liquid stevia and a reduced amount of sugar to sweeten the dish. The popular recipe on the back of cranberry packages uses 1 cup of sugar where this recipe uses one third of the amount. A serving of this recipe is only 66 calories versus 116 calories in the original recipe. Dieters and diabetics can eliminate all of the sugar and use more stevia. That would reduce the calories to only 19 per serving. Stevia is a natural herb and considered one of the safest sugar substitutes. Use a few drops at a time as too much stevia can have the reverse effect and make your dish bitter. A brand that I like is Stevita liquid extract. I use only 2 or 3 drops to sweeten my morning tea. When baking, I generally use powdered stevia and mix it in the flour. There are now many brands of both powdered and liquid stevia now that it has been approved by the FDA.
Raw Cranberry Relish [serves 12]
12 oz package of fresh cranberries
10 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
Wash cranberries. Place in a food processor with the Medjool dates and process until you reach the desired consistency. You can make this ahead of time so just refrigerate until needed. (If desired, you may add chopped apples and pecans and process again briefly.)
Per Serving: 68 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates and 2.7 g of fiber.
Low Sugar Cranberry Sauce [serves 8]
12 oz package of fresh cranberries
1 cup organic apple juice *
1/3 cup Sucanat or other organic cane sugar
Stevia to taste for added sweetness
* You may substitute orange juice for the apple juice and add 1 teaspoon of orange zest
Wash cranberries. Place in a small saucepan with apple juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until all the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens (about 4 or 5 minutes). Add stevia to taste. Don't add too much or it can taste bitter. You can make this ahead of time so refrigerate until needed.
Per serving: 66 calories, 0 g of fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g protein, 16.3 g carbohydrates and 1.5 g fiber.