When you hear the word "Cranberry", whatís the first thing that comes to mind? For most people, itís festive holiday meals like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years & Easter. Fall may be cranberry harvesting time, but the berries are easy to obtain all year longÖespecially if you like the frozen variety. You can easily get frozen cranberries in most super markets. Canned berries are ok, but remember, heating destroys some nutrients. When you learn about all the health benefits these little tart berries pack in, youíll want to consider the cranberry all year long.
Watch for the bright, zesty and festive recipe in this article! When you know all the wonderful ways to put cranberries to use, theyíll go much further than just sauce for your turkey.
Whole berries are best!
Certainly, cranberry juice & cranberry extract can be used for benefits if you donít like whole berries. However, whole berries provide anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacteria, and antioxidant benefits due to nutritional synergy. Nutritional Synergy is a concept familiar to food-combination experts. Certain nutrients enhance others when eaten together. A simple example would be how boron (a trace mineral) and magnesium help the body & bones use calcium if all 3 are eaten at the same time. Chia seeds, another ingredient youíll see in this cool recipe contain calcium (even more by weight, than milk!) and the trace mineral boron.
What are the health benefits of cranberries?
Itís pretty much common knowledge that cranberry juice can help fight urinary tract infections. But do you know how they work to do this? They prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder lining. However, when researchers looked into this handy fact, they found that this same "non-stick" property of cranberries could also be used to prevent the ulcer-causing bacteria (helicobacter pylori) from gaining a foot-hold on the stomach lining. Researching one benefit led to the discovery of another.
Cranberries fight inflammation too.
Cranberries fight inflammation with their various phyto-nutrients. These include Proanthocyanidins, Anthocyanins, Flavonoids, Triterpenoids & Phenolic Acid.(Each one of these long words is a useful nutrient, you can look up each one with a search engine to learn more, as there are too many facts about each one for just one article to contain!) Inflammation can trigger problems with the gums, it can cause premature signs of aging, and irritate the lining of blood vessels. When you lower inflammation of the gums, youíll have healthier teeth. When you reduce artery inflammation, you can improve your cholesterol, because cholesterol on artery walls is used to protect them from inflammatory particles.
Now that you know many of the ways whole cranberries can help, why not give them a whirl in your food processor to try this delicious cranberry recipe. You can serve this over meat, like turkey, or use it on crackers as an appetizer. It goes well with mild cheese, or you can use it as a spread in a Panini sandwich. Itís so versatile, what will be your favorite way to use it?
1/2 bag (6 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 hand-full fresh cilantro
1/4 or 1/8 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup agave nectar or sweetener of choice
1/4 inch round of a red onion
2 tsp dry chia Seeds
This is so easy to make!
Rinse the cranberries in a colander. Pick out any under or over ripe berries. Rinse the cilantro, and shake to dry. Use kitchen scissors to cut off any long stems of the cilantro. Remove the seeds from the pepper.
Put cranberries, cilantro, onion, and pepper in the food processor. Pulse a
few times to chop well. Next, add lime juice, agave nectar, dry chia & the
pomegranate arils. Pulse quickly 2 times to blend everything together.
Itís important to not over-chop or it will become slush.
The mixture should be thick & spread-able. For use on crackers, cheese or chips just spoon the mixture into a festive bowl and youíre ready to serve.
Sweetening with agave nectar gives it a lower glycemic index score. Agave tastes sweeter than sugar, so you can use less. It also has a lower glycemic score than plain granulated sugar. This recipe also works with stevia, if you canít get agave nectar. Thereís a little jalapeno pepper in this recipe. If you want it hotter, just add a fraction more from your fresh or frozen pepper. Since the mixture is pulsed in a mini chopper, fresh or frozen berries will work. Chia seeds gel when exposed to liquid, and they help blend the flavors together, while adding two kinds of healthy fiber. You can change the consistency of this recipe by adding more dry chia seeds, if you wish.
So be sure to get your vitamin C, vitamin A, lutein, Ŗ-carotene, zea-xanthin, folate and minerals like potassium, and manganese while enjoying the taste of these versatile berries. This isnít the only recipe, too! There are plenty more at your fingertips when you use a search engine. Itís worth-while to see how many ways you can use the cranberry now that you know how healthy it is for you.