FOUR SURPRISING BENEFITS OF CRANBERRIES

Cranberries are ubiquitous during the holiday season, so we thought we’d take a moment to let you know how these crimson berries can contribute to your health. 

Because cranberries are harvested in late fall, they’ve become closely associated with holidays. This month, you’ll likely see them piled up in the produce section of your grocery store, floating in holiday-themed beverages, baked into muffins and breads, served alongside turkey, or incorporated into holiday decorations.

Since they’re in the spotlight during the holidays, we thought we’d take a minute to tell you some surprising ways cranberries can contribute to your health!

1. Cranberries contain Vitamin C -- so much so that early North American sailors kept barrels of them onboard their ships to prevent sailors from getting scurvy.  In addition to preventing scurvy, Vitamin C has also been shown to support healthy skin, bones and teeth.

2. Cranberries can prevent UTI’s.  The cranberry is one of the only fruits native to North America.  The Native Americans discovered the berry centuries ago, and used it to treat kidney and bladder diseases.  Recent studies have shown that cranberries may help prevent urinary tract infections.  But it’s important to note that they don’t treat a UTI once you have it; they may help to prevent UTI’s.   Also, cranberries are more likely to prevent a UTI if you take them in supplement form, since cranberry juice doesn’t contain a high enough concentration to benefit your bladder.

3. Cranberries can prevent cancer. Cranberries contain high levels of antioxidants, which neutralize the free radicals that can lead to cancer.  They also contain proanthocyanidins, a powerful compound that can prevent cancer cells from replicating.  Research has shown that cranberries can inhibit at least 17 different kinds of cancer.

4. Cranberries can improve your heart health. Because of their high concentration of proanthocyanidins, these little “noisy berries,” as some Native Americans called them, relax blood vessels and lower cholesterol. Given all their cardiovascular benefits, some researchers believe that cranberries are almost as helpful as aspirin in preventing heart disease and strokes.

From all of us at GGUC, we hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season!  But if you need us, we’re standing by, ready to care for you at any of our 6 locations, 7 days a week.

Author
Sarah Thebarge MMSc, PA-C Sarah Thebarge earned her physician assistant degree at Yale School of Medicine, and then studied journalism at Columbia School of Journalism. She has been a physician assistant and a freelance journalist since 2004. In addition to caring for patients at Golden Gate Urgent Care, Sarah frequently volunteers her medical skills in the developing world. Her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, USA Today and National Geographic, and her blog was featured on MSNBC.com. She is the author of the memoir The Invisible Girls and the upcoming book WELL: Healing our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa. She currently lives in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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