Wild morning to you, pretties! Red, purple-ish and festive is this month’s plant that I wish to present to you. Known as red forest gold in Sweden, cranberries are all that nature has to offer in terms of healing and miracles. With enormous amounts of positive cranberry health benefits, you will want to include these small berries in your pantry. Have I mentioned cranberry skin and hair benefits?
Cranberry love story
I’ve always adored dried cranberries; I don’t really like raisins, so cranberries kind of became that dried fruit that was a perfect and tastier raisin substitute. One thing had never occurred to me, though: that cranberries are actually bitter when fresh and I have been living with a wrong belief all this time. Honestly, I’ve always thought cranberries are something sweet and chewy.
Anyway, this is not the only misconception I’ve had about these small red berries. there are two types of cranberries; the European one, common cranberry, cultivated in central and northern Europe: Vaccinium oxycoccos and north American cranberry or a large cranberry, known as Vaccinium macrocarpon.
Cranberries are actually shrubs with evergreen leaves. The berries begin as light green in color but later on develop red and dark red when they ripe. And a fun fact: did you know that a lot of cranberries are water-harvested?
Cranberry as a source of nutrition
Cranberries contain tons of various nutrients that are great for our skin, health, hair, and eyes.
- Cranberry as a rich source of vitamins
Cranberries contain a ton of vitamin C, which gives it that bitter and sour flavor, but it is not the only vitamin in there; there are also vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, and K.
- Cranberry as a good source of minerals:
Which minerals? Well, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper
- Cranberry as a rich source of antioxidants
- A good source of dietary fiber
- Cranberry as a rich source of phytonutrients
These phytonutrients, such as flavonoids, phenolic acid, triterpenoids, anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins are the ones that give cranberries their anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. The easiest way to get all of the nutritional value of the cranberries? Either eat raw fruit, not processed and especially without any sugar. Or, find a 100% cranberry juice, raw, without any additives and sugars or sweeteners.
Cranberry health benefits
Cranberry is a natural remedy for a number of things. Used by the Native American tribes at first to treat kidney and gall bladder problems, the uses of cranberries have spread onto other areas as well. Cranberry health benefits can come either from fresh fruit, or as mentioned before, a 100% cranberry juice, which are both very beneficial with their nutritional value and antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties:
Boost immune system
Cranberries are a rich source of polyphenols, phytochemicals and other antioxidants that boost out immune system and prevent infectious diseases. Cranberries also lower the chance of colds and flu symptoms.
Boost cell rejuvenation and regeneration
Cranberries boost blood circulation and the polyphenols promote cell renovation. The antioxidants protect the cells from the free radical damage.
Prevent inflammation of the urinary tract
The active ingredients in the cranberries protect and prevent the bacteria to harm the urinary tract. People with these kind of problems are advised to drink cranberry juice regularly.
A natural boost for heart health and blood system
Cranberries have a soothing and positive effect on the cardiovascular system, heart health and blood, because the oxidants present in the cranberries fight the free radicals, lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Again, phytonutrients, which play a great role in cranberry health benefits, prevent the inflammations and the combo gives a protection to cardiovascular system.
Positive benefits on digestion
Based on a research, cranberries were proven to boost the health of the digestive tract by balancing the bacterial environment and making it more favorable.
Cranberry health benefits for the eyes are very positive, because cranberries greatly improve their health. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins aid with regeneration of the cells, responsible for eyesight.
Boost teeth and gum health
Phytonutrients in cranberries, with their anti-inflammatory properties, play a crucial role in keeping our gums healthy.
Cranberry as a beauty product
As if all those cranberry health benefits are not enough, let me focus now on cranberry skin and hair benefits. Apparently some tend to call this superfood a fountain of youth since cranberries tend to have a rejuvenating effect on our skin. A healthy concoction of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants in a pretty deep red color is a must; you can even make a simple cranberry face mask if you have some berries leftover from dinner.
Cranberry skin benefits
Protects the skin
All those antioxidants in cranberries help fight the free radicals and protect the skin. You can either drink cranberry juice, or apply cranberry juice or fresh blended cranberries as a facial mask.
Aids with acne
Antiseptic properties of cranberries are a natural aid to acne since it helps eliminate them. What’s more, the juice makes skin look fresh and bright.
Cranberry has an effect on wrinkles and fine lines, giving you a bright and clear look of your skin. It also helps reduce dark patches and redness. If you wish to have a healthy glow, go with cranberry- its antioxidants will protect your skin from the free radicals.
A natural toner for oily skin
Cranberry works as a natural toner to your skin; it helps remove excess oils and cells that are dead or damaged. If you have oily skin, this is a simple yet natural treatment that should show results fairly quickly. Your skin will shine and it will seem more toned and light.
Cranberry hair benefits
A natural hair color
In case you want to boost your natural hair color, cranberry can possibly aid with that. As a natural color, it can only offer positive benefits to your hair, without toxic ingredients or harmful chemicals. Cranberry rinse adds an extra shine to your hair and at the same time doesn’t damage the roots in any way.
A natural remedy for dandruff and itchy scalp
Cranberry skin and hair benefits join forces when dealing with a stubborn thing such as dandruff. With antifungal and antiseptic properties, cranberry juice can be either drunk, but for more effect, you can actually apply it directly on your scalp. Whether itchy or flaky, your scalp should improve with time.
Prevents hair fall
By consuming cranberries or their juice, you can give your hair healthy nutrients, such as vitamins A and C that promote their growth.
Cranberry as a kitchen ingredient
Since fresh berries are bitter, most of the cranberries are either dried or make into juices, jams, sauces. As we’ve established earlier, cranberry health benefits are most potent when coming from a raw berry, but the benefits don’t stop here. You can also make a tasty cranberry tea; not only from the berries, but from the leaves of the berries as well. Well, if you go and hand pick them yourself, that is. Otherwise, I found a nice step-by-step guide of a tasty homemade cranberry tea from Cleverly Simple blog. I’m definitely trying to make it since I have leftover cranberries.
What is your favourite use of cranberries?