Did you know that the Native Americans used cranberries thousands of years ago for preserving meat during long voyages? These wonder plants have several preservation and nutritional properties that have amazed scientists even today.
You might have occasionally come across cranberries in your deserts or meals, but read on to find out why you should consume these wonder fruits on a regular basis. You would be amazed to discover its curing properties.
Benefits Of Cranberries
A Natural Preservative
Cranberries are rich in benzoyl peroxide, a compound that acts as a natural preservative, preventing decomposition and microbial contamination of meat and other products. Apart from acting as a preservative, these berries are packed with antioxidants. In fact, they have the highest antioxidant concentration when compared to all the other fruits, making them an absolute necessity in our daily diet.
Scurvy was a deadly disease that affected sailors who went on long voyages. They soon discovered that cranberries when consumed on a regular basis was very effective in preventing scurvy, which occurred due to deficiency of vitamin C. Cranberries are one of the richest sources of vitamin C.
Cranberries for Cancer Prevention
According to the Cornell University, cranberries were very effective in killing breast cancer cells when the latter were immersed with the fruit’s extracts for a stipulated period of time. They found a high rate of cancer cell deaths when the concentration of the cranberry extract was increased. This clearly indicates the “cancer killing” properties of cranberries.
Apart from killing these dangerous cells, cranberries were also very powerful in preventing further cell reproduction, halting the growth and spread of cancerous cells effectively.
In another study, researchers discovered that cranberries prevent the activity of cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme, which is known to aggravate inflammation and is present in extremely high concentrations in cancerous cells. By inhibiting this enzymatic activity, cranberries were very effective in preventing the growth and spread of cancerous cells. It was discovered that cranberries acted directly on the genes of the affected cell, minimizing the chances of uncontrolled cancer development. They are also known to cut off blood supply to the cancerous cells, halting their growth completely.
Although cranberries were not used for checking their effectiveness on all types of cancerous cells, the large antioxidant content present in these fruits is reason enough for many researchers to believe that cranberries are excellent in terms of disposing off free radicals, substances that are pioneers in causing cancerous cell formation in the body.
They are also rich in proanthocyanidins, flavonoids and anthocyanins. These compounds are found to be extremely beneficial in preventing a host of degenerative changes occurring in the body including cancer.
Other Health Benefits
Apart from its cancer fighting properties, cranberries are high in fiber. They are known to prevent prostatitis, Alzheimer’s disease, urinary tract infections, kidney stones and several types of diseases that are caused by fungi, virus, bacteria, etc.
Therefore, the next time you go shopping, do not forget to include cranberries in your shopping list. You can consume them raw or in the form of fruit juices. They have a tangy taste, which can make it a little uncomfortable for people who are used to consuming sweet fruits. You may bring in a lot of variation but remember to eat fresh cranberries whenever possible to get the maximum benefits of all the nutrients present.