Are Cranberries A Cure All?

Since researchers linked cranberries to healing urinary tract infections in the early 1990s, the bright red bog berry has claimed a variety of remarkable healing properties, especially for women. Because cranberries don’t grow in the subtropical climate of southeast Asia, I didn’t discover them until I moved to the United States. I like their tart flavor, and I eat them raw (in cranberry-orange relish), cooked (see my Cranberry Compote recipe in my cookbook FoodTrients: Age-defying Recipes for a Sustainable Body), or dried (they make a great snack!).

But in addition to their taste, I value the many health and wellness benefits cranberries provide. Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants. They rank very high on the ORAC scale, which determines a food’s ability to absorb free oxygen radicals. As we know, getting rid of those extra oxidizing agents can help keep us looking younger on the outside and functioning better on the cellular level. The particular antioxidants contained in cranberries are called flavonoids, which shield against environmental toxins, promote artery health, and reduce the risk of blood clots.

Cranberries are also a good source of lutein, which has been shown to help prevent macular degeneration, and quercitin, which supports the immune system and reduces inflammation inside the arteries. They’re even high in vitamin C, which helps the body to resist infection, prevent cataracts, and aid in tissue regeneration. Cranberries also contain fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin K, manganese, and a bit of resveratrol—that heart-friendly nutrient found in red wine, which protects the heart, fights cancer cells, and improves blood flow in the brain. No wonder I’m amazed by the berry’s dietary benefits!

If you’re cooking cranberries, use nonreactive cookware, such as copper or enamel-coated cast iron, to keep the acid that cranberries produce from interacting with the metal. If you have only aluminum cookware, here’s a neat trick my mother taught me: drop a few cleaned pennies into the pot. The copper in pennies keeps the acid from reacting with the aluminum. Just remember to remove the pennies before serving!

Because cranberries are harvested in September and October and last through December, my Cranberry Compote recipe, which calls for fresh cranberries, is perfect for the holiday season. Serve it on your Thanksgiving table or brighten your Christmas meal with its deep, rich color. Either way, the holidays are a perfect time for appreciating cranberries’ health-giving benefits.


About Grace O

Grace O has been cooking and baking professionally and recreationally all of her adult life. As a child in Southeast Asia, she learned the culinary arts by her mother’s side in her family’s cooking school. She became so well versed in hospitality and the culinary arts, she eventually took over the cooking school and opened three restaurants. She is widely credited with popularizing shrimp on sugar-cane skewers and being one of the first culinarians to make tapas a global trend. She has cooked for ruling families and royalty. Grace O’s move to America precipitated a career in healthcare, inspired by her father, who was a physician. Twenty years and much hard work later, she operates skilled nursing facilities in California. Grace O strives to create flavorful food using the finest ingredients that ultimately lead to good health. Her recipes, although low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, are high in flavor. Grace employs spices from all over the world to enliven her dishes, creating food that is different and delicious. She believes that food can be just as effective at fighting aging as the most expensive skin creams. And since she’s over 50 herself, she’s living proof of that.
What Do FoodTrients Do?
anti-inflamatory Anti-Inflammatory

Reduces inflammation process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

anti-oxidant Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

immunity-booster Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

mind Mind

Enhancers encourage vibrant skin and hair and improve mood and mental agility.

disease-preventing Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.