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Reach for the Red and Crimson Berry this Holiday Season

It’s time for holidays and there’s no better way to celebrate with your family and friends than cooking up something delicious and satisfying. This season consider serving your kids something that’s not only tasty but also colorful and healthy. The crimson fruit known as the cranberry is easy to spot and you can find it at your local grocer in the produce section, with the canned goods, in the freezer section, in the juice aisle, or even with the dried fruit. No matter which form you choose, your children and guests are sure to say yum while reaping the health benefits of the berry!

The tart red berry boasts as many ways to enjoy it as it does health benefits. This versatile berry adds pizzazz to most any dish- from entrées to baked good, relishes to stuffing- and can easily be added to many of your favorite traditional holiday offerings.

What’s so great about this native fruit? The research behind the berry is ongoing and there’s enough concrete evidence that this berry is one functional food that your family should not be without!

Fortify with Fruit!

Health professionals have long known that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables reduces the risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. According to the Cranberry Institute, this effect may result from the high antioxidant and polyphenol content of these foods. In comparison with other typically consumed fruits, the tart cranberry tops them all; the total antioxidant capacity of the cranberry exceeds that of the plum, highbush blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, red delicious apple, strawberry, red and green grapes.

In addition to being rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, or PACs. These PACs help keep us healthy by providing “anti-adhesion” activity against various harmful bacteria. Because the germs can’t stick to the different organs of the body, they can’t multiple and leave the body. Therefore, you’re left with better health after eating cranberries.

Which form is best?

People enjoy cranberries in their raw form, baked form, boiled, dried, and juiced. But how you eat them doesn’t matter because no matter the form, cranberries still provide healthful benefits to you and your family.

What kind of benefits?

Naturally low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, cranberries easily fit within the dietary guidelines as they are a nutrient dense choice; providing ample amounts of vitamins and minerals with relatively low amounts of calories.

Cranberries are recognized by the American Heart Association as “heart healthy” because they are low in fat while being rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. Not only are cranberries a heart healthy choice, but the intake of cranberries can positively impact one’s overall health; from head to toe.

Cranberries have been shown to prevent cavities, fight off urinary tract infections, prevent stomach ulcers, and improve cholesterol levels. Because cranberries are so high in anti-oxidants, current research is looking into whether cranberries may be a key component in the fight against cancer.

As the seasons change and as you search for healthy dishes to serve in the upcoming months, don’t forget to include cranberries on the menu. For new dishes to enjoy this holiday season, check out http://www.uscranberries.com/, a site which contains a plethora of new and innovative recipes and can provide answers to all of your questions cranberries.

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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