Cranberries - A super fruit
Cranberries are evergreen shrubs belonging to the subcategory of the genus Vaccinium oxycoccos. Cultivated in northern Europe, the northern United States, Canada and Chile. Fresh Cranberries contain 90% water, while their dry weight consists mainly of carbohydrates and fiber.
Carbohydrates and fiber
The carbohydrates contained in Cranberries amount to 12.2 g / 100g, are mainly simple sugars, such as sucrose, glucose and fructose. In addition, they contain insoluble fibers such as pectin, cellulose and hemicellulose, but also soluble fibers. For this reason, excessive consumption can cause diarrhea. They have a bitter and sour taste and are therefore more often consumed in the form of juice with added sugar.
Vitamins and minerals
Cranberries are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, with a prominent position to hold vitamin C.
• Vitamin C: is in high concentration 13.3 mg / 100 g is essential for maintaining skin, muscle and bone.
• Manganese: its concentration is 0.36 mg / 100g, it is necessary for the development, metabolism and antioxidant system of the body.
• Vitamin E: 100 g of product contain 1.2 mg of vitamin E, a vitamin vitamin base fat with antioxidant properties
• Vitamin K: is at a concentration of 5.1 μg / 100 g and is indispensable for blood clotting.
Cranberries contain very high concentrations of phytochemicals and antioxidants, especially polyphenols. Many of these substances are concentrated in their bark, while their content is significantly reduced during the preparation of juice.
• Quercetin: The richest antioxidant polyphenol in Cranberries (20-30mg / 100g). It has been found to inhibit the growth and proliferation of breast, colon, prostate, lung and other tumor cells.
• Myrisectin: An important antioxidant polyphenol that can have a number of beneficial effects on health.
• Peonidin: A type of anthocyanin which is responsible for the rich red color of cranberries.
• Ursolic acid: It is concentrated and high in the Cranberries cortex. It is an ingredient for many traditional herbal medicines and has strong anti-inflammatory action. It has also been found to be able to reduce carcinogenicity in the prostate.
• Type A-proanthocyanidins (PAC): A class of antioxidant polyphenols that appear to act effectively against urinary tract infections when taken at a dose of 72 mg.
• Cecidic acid: Protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation, prevents DNA damage and neutralizes the action of cancer cells.
Prevention of urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections are mainly caused by the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli, which adheres to the internal surface of the urinary bladder and urinary system. Cranberries are one of the richest sources of A-type proanthocyanidins that prevent the bacterium Escherichia coli from attaching to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract, making it a potential preventive measure against urinary tract infections. A large number of studies have shown that drinking Cranberries juice, or taking it as a supplement, can reduce the risk of urinary tract infections in children and adults.
Other health benefits
• Helicobacter pylori infection is thought to be the leading cause of ulcer, stomach inflammation, and cancer. Cranberries due to their content of A-type proanthocyanidins can reduce this risk. In addition, it appears that daily 3-week juice consumption can suppress the growth of Helicobacter pylori.
• Cranberries due to the antioxidants they contain (anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins and quercetin) can be beneficial to heart health. They appear to increase HDL levels and lower LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients. They also lower blood pressure and blood homocysteine levels, reducing the risk of inflammation in the blood vessels.
• Contribute to the fight against harmful bacteria in the mouth and prevent them from producing acids that damage the tooth enamel, thereby helping to fight gum disease. In addition, their consumption can reduce the inflammation caused by the bacteria responsible for periodontitis.
Cranberries and Side Effects
In moderate amounts, Cranberries are usually considered safe for most people. However, excessive consumption can cause stomach upsets, diarrhea and increase the risk of developing kidney stones in predisposed individuals. Most stones are created from calcium oxalate, excessive amount of oxalate in the urine is one of the main risk factors. Cranberries or their concentrated extracts may contain high levels of oxalate. They also contain high levels of vitamin C, which is converted to oxalate in some people. Therefore people who are predisposed should limit the consumption of Cranberries and other foods rich in oxalate.
How to consume them
• You can make juice from fresh Cranberries in combination with other fruits
• Make cottage cheese sauce for turkey, chicken and fish
• They are ideal for jams and jellies because of their high pectin content.
• Dried Cranberries can be enjoyed neat, with yogurt, in cakes, biscuits or salads
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