Cranberry, a fruit native to North America, packs a number of benefits and antioxidant phytonutrients. This berry is known for its tasty flavor and treatment of urinary tract infections. No matter you want to excite your taste buds or eat something great for your health and skin, cranberries should be on your list.
Cranberries belong to the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium. They grow on low-growing shrubs or vines up to 2 meters long and 5 to 20cm in height. They are initially green when they are in their initial stage but when they ripe, they turn to red.
In this article, we will take you through all the major benefits of cranberries for your skin and health along with other important information regarding them so whenever you eat them, you know what a gem you are actually eating. Let’s get started with their brief history first.
Cranberries for the first time appeared to be used by the people in North America for preparing energy bar-like food known as “pemmican” that was consumed by fur traders for its healthy and nutritious properties. Different ancient tribes gave various names to cranberry including “ibimi”, which meant sour/bitter. The word “cranberry” was given to this fruit by the European colonizers of North America because the flowers of their plant were shaped like the head and neck of sandhill crane that led to the term “crane-berry”, which was later shortened to “cranberry”.
For the first time in history, cranberries were commercially cultivated in the United States in 1816 when captain Henry Hall (a revolutionary war veteran) came across a cranberry shrub on Cape Cod. He then became the first person to cultivate cranberries successfully.
Half cup (55 grams) of cranberries contains:
- 25 calories
- 0.25g of protein
- 0.07g of fat
- 6.6g of carbohydrates
- 2.35g of sugar
- 2g of fiber
- 5mg of calcium
- 0.12g of iron
- 3.5g of magnesium
- 44mg of potassium
- 6mg of phosphorous
- 1mg of sodium
- 0.05mg of Zinc
- 7.7mg of vitamin C
- 35 IU of vitamin A
- 0.72mg of vitamin E
- 2.75mcg of vitamin K
Uses of Cranberries
- Cranberries due to their tartness can be used as a replacement for vinegar or lemon in a fresh green salad. Add your favorite greens in a bowl, toss a little olive oil and top them over with a handful of raw cranberries.
- For a more versatile flavor and balancing cranberries’ tartness, mix them with a number of other fruits such as pineapples, apples, oranges or pears. You can then further top that fruit salad with maple syrup or honey for enhanced flavor.
- Make yourself a healthy morning smoothie by placing 1/3 cup of cranberries, 1 large peeled orange, ½ cup of frozen raspberries or strawberries, and 1 peeled frozen banana in a blender. Blend the ingredients together until smooth to enjoy a refreshing morning start.
- If you are a cereal lover, you can get some extra nutrition by sprinkling a handful of dried unsweetened cranberries over a bowl of oatmeal, barley, or any cold cereal.
- Uses for beauty and health abound including sc
Benefits for health
- Boosts Heart Health
Cranberries due to their heart-healthy properties can prevent triggering of two enzymes that cause different heart diseases. Consumption of cranberries also showed the blocking of a pro-inflammatory molecule that is also known as TNF-alpha. Have a cup of cranberries every day to increase blood flow and experience a positive dilation of blood vessels.
- Treats Urinary Tract Infections
Cranberries are well-known for treating urinary tract infections with the help antioxidants proanthocyanidins present in them that prevent certain bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract.
In the same way, consumption of cranberries on a consistent basis can also help prevent various infections. There are some supplements available (mentioned below in the products section) to help cure these infections.
- Improves Dental Health
Bacteria are the number one cause of a number of diseases and killing them means preventing yourself from those diseases. The same properties or phytonutrients present in cranberries that help prevent urinary tract infection can improve your dental health by preventing the bacteria from sticking to your gums or teeth. Consumption of cranberries can also reduce the inflammation around the gums.
The risk of periodontal disease can also be cured with the help of cranberries if you use them regularly.
- Prevent Kidney and Bladder Problems
Stones can grow in your kidneys due to several reasons, which can be prevented with the help of citric acid and other important nutrients available in cranberries. If you have bladder complications, then the same properties that prevent kidney problems can clear off bladder complications.
- Protect from the Common Cold and Viral Flu Virus
Not just cranberries, but their juice is also known for treating a lot of problems. If you are having common cold or viral flu virus, you can drink cranberry juice to take advantage of vitamin C and other antioxidant properties and protect yourself from these diseases.
- Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Cranberries can prevent platelet build-up and reduce blood pressure with the help of polyphenols and anti-inflammatory properties that may also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or CVD.
- Help Lose Weight
Fiber-rich foods enable you to stay full for a longer period of time and hence making you less hungry. Cranberries pack 16 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber in them. Fiber helps your digestive tract to keep things moving, which prevents your body from bloating.
If you are working hard to get some extra fat off your body then adding cranberries to your daily diet will double the benefits.
Remember to follow a healthy diet and do not just depend on berries or any single fruit to lose weight.
- Help Reduce Lung Inflammation
Eating cranberries or drinking its juice can reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune system so it can withstand and combat against different kind of infections and viruses. Cranberries contain an enzyme known as nondialyzable material or NDM that help keep the viruses away from your health cells.
Benefits for Skin
Cranberries do not just provide a number of benefits to your health but they also work wonders on your skin because of the high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins B3 and B5, etc. present in them. These properties of cranberries lead to a healthy skin that is perfectly moisturized and has a good complexion.
Here are some benefits of cranberries for skin:
No one gets immortality but you can keep your skin look younger by eating something natural that is filled with a lot of antioxidants, such as cranberries. Eating cranberries on a regular basis can quickly flush out all the toxins and free radicals from your body to keep your skin naturally moisturized and hydrated, which in return help in preventing wrinkles and fine lines.
- Flawless Skin
As we already know that cranberries help in slowing down the aging process, they also make your skin look flawless. No matter you opt for raw cranberries or go for its juice, you will get copious amounts of benefits in both the cases. Cranberry juice is rich in vitamin C and has components like hydroxylysine, hydroxyproline, and amino acids that are essential for our body to generate collagen.
Cranberry juice or cranberry itself is the best option to consume if you live in cold areas where your skin is prone to harsh winds that can lead to a number of skin problems.
If you want something great for your skin that is made with healthy ingredients including cranberry then you can use MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Scrub. It is a blend of cranberry juice and other healthy ingredients that makes this scrub a great solution for clarifying and protecting your skin.
- Eliminate Oil From The Skin
Oily skin doesn’t just look unpleasant but is also prone to acne. If you are looking for a long-term solution then you must give a try to cranberry or its juice. Due to its antiseptic and antioxidant properties, it works great in treating acne.
You can also make a homemade face mask to get rid of those ugly-looking pimples. All you need is powdered orange peel, a teaspoon of honey, and cranberry juice. Mix all the ingredients together nicely and then apply the mask on your face, put it on for at least 20 minutes and then wash it off. Do it on a regular basis to see a positive difference in your skin.
Where to Buy
Here are some best cranberry products that work great on your skin and health:1. AZO Cranberry Urinary Tract Health Dietary Supplement
This healthy supplement consists of 100 softgels that can help maintain a healthy urinary tract. All you need to do is add two softgels in a glass of water to make a glass of cranberry juice with all the benefits of fresh juice. Cranberry juice that you will find in the market has added sugar about 42 grams and 165 calories per 12ounce serving but this cranberry supplement is free from added sugar that gives an extra edge to the people who are trying to lose weight.
This supplement is suitable for both men and women.2. Life Tree Juice Concentrate, Unsweetened Cranberry, 8 Ounce
If you are a juice lover and want to have yourself a natural glass of cranberry juice in the morning then this unsweetened cranberry concentrate is a great thing to use. There are not hidden fillers in this concentrate like most other ones available in the market.
To make cranberry juice of it, put 2tbsp of concentrate into 10oz of filtered water. The concentrate is moderately strong; you can also use 1tbsp if you are not using ice cubes which dilute the juice upon melting. It also makes a great detox for the liver by mixing 1tbsp of concentrate, 2tbsp of fresh lemon juice, and dandelion root tea together.3. Herb Pharm Certified Organic Cranberry Extract
This extract is made with organic and farm-fresh cranberries to treat the urinary tract infections (UTI). You can add this extract into water or consume it directly for reducing UTI, kidney and bladder problems.
However, this extract is a bit bitter because cranberries are bitter in taste, but still, you can add it into water or your favorite smoothie to gain a number of health benefits.4. Virgin Extracts (TM) Pure Premium Organic Cranberry Powder
This cranberry concentrate is in powdered form that is 36 times stronger than most extracts. It is free from any kind of additives and fillers, which ultimately makes this concentrate great for maintaining a healthy urinary tract.
Add this concentrate into the water to protect your body from the free radicals that can cause a lot of problems to your body. This is a versatile product that can be mixed with yogurt, smoothies, ice cream, cereal, oatmeal, juice, and much more.5. Dial Skin Care Bar Soap
Cranberries due to their antioxidant and antiseptic properties are a great option for skin treatment. This skin care bar soap contains the power of cranberries and glycerin that can help maintain your natural skin moisture and prevent it from acne.
This is a pack of 9 bars, each weighs about 4oz.6. Cranberry Anti-Aging Seed Exfoliating Face & Body Glow
This face and body glow scrub is made with cranberries that also help slow the aging process, giving you a healthier and younger-looking skin. The scrub can ward off skin impurities that are caused by harmful environmental pollutants. This cleanser scrub also works great in moisturizing your skin with the help of its ingredients like camellia sativa seed oil, jojoba oil, and lemongrass oil.
Put a small amount on your fingertips and massage it on your skin in a circular motion for about 2 to 3 minutes and then rinse with clean water. It is recommended that you do this for at least 3 times a week. For best results, apply it after washing your face with a face wash first.7. Organic Natural Face Moisturizer
This organic face moisturizer contains the power of antioxidants, vitamin A, D, K, and E. it is made with cranberries and other healthy ingredients that work their magic in hydrating and promoting a smooth skin. You can use it to reduce enlarged pores, unevenness, and breakouts.
This moisturizer is free from parabens, ethoxylates, petroleum, dyes, and preservatives, which improves elasticity and skin collagen for a glowing and youthful skin.8. Cranberry Seed Oil
This cranberry seed oil is free from any kind of preservatives, chemicals, solvents, enzymes or anything that makes it unnatural. You can apply this oil on your skin to gain its superlative antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that provide excellent anti-aging functionality.
This rich in Vitamin A and polyphenol content oil can reduce wrinkles, fine lines and improve skin elasticity so your skin can look fresh all the time. You can also ingest it for heart, retina, and brain health. It has a longer shelf life that makes it an excellent ingredient for use in creams, lotions, balms, and other anhydrous formulations.9. Nutricost Cranberry Extract
The Nutricost cranberry extract is in the form of capsules that provides high cranberry concentrate i.e. 25,000mg of cranberries per serving (capsule). There are 120 capsules available in the pack that are also enriched with the healthy properties of vitamin C and vitamin E.
The cranberry extract can help control chronic bladder infections if you take 4 capsules a day; 2 in the morning and 2 in the night. It can also help ward off other inflammatory infections. Make sure you consult your physician before consuming them.10. Cranberry Extract Pills Kidney Care Supplement
These pills are made with organic cranberries and other healthy ingredients for treating kidney bladder and urinary tract problems. There are 60 capsules in a pack. Each tablet contains 30% cranberry extract. Consuming these capsules will filter your blood, produce vitamin D for bones, and help regulate blood pressure.
The number of antioxidants and phytonutrients available in this extract can prevent bacteria from attaching to the bladder and urethra. In short, cranberries along with other healthy ingredients will provide you a shield against toxin-induced damage to the kidneys.11. BulkSupplements Cranberry Extract Powder
If you don’t like eating extract tablets and capsules then extract powder is there for you. This cranberry extract powder by BulkSupplements comes in a factory-sealed foil zip pouch. You can take it as a dietary supplement by mixing about a ¼ teaspoon of cranberry powder in water and consuming it up to three times a day. Its consumption can help promote bladder health, combat free radicals, improve digestive health, make your heart healthy, and much more.12. Cranberry Mint Toothpaste
It is extremely important to take care of your oral health and one of the best ways to do so is brushing your teeth regularly. This cranberry mint toothpaste cleans and whitens your teeth and removes bad smell, keeping you fresh all day. The combination of mint and cranberry will keep your teeth healthy and help you get rid of bad odor.
The healthy properties of cranberries present in this toothpaste also protect tooth enamel from being damaged and strengthen it.13. Skin fitness Cranberry Purifying Scrub
This Purifying scrub by Skin Fitness is a combination of cranberry, jojoba beads, and organic zeolite materials that together can help refine and detoxify your skin and make it smooth and clarify with the help of benzoyl peroxide (anti-bacterial) which is present as a natural source in cranberries.
You can also apply this scrub on your face to remove toxic pollutants, impurities, makeup, and exfoliate dead skin cells. The directions are easy, all you have to do is apply it on your skin, massage it for 2 to 3 minutes and rinse thoroughly for surprising results.14. Wild Cranberry Powder Organic
This powder extract is made from 100% whole raw cranberries without any additives, which contains the power of antioxidants and vitamin C. The combination of vitamin C and anthocyanin in cranberries can help support the normal functioning of urinary tract health. While vitamin E and potassium protect cells against oxidative stress and help maintain normal blood pressure.
Only 3.2oz of this wild cranberry powder is equivalent to 24.75oz/700g of cranberries. The powder is made by freeze-drying cranberries which is the best method to preserve all the healthy properties, color, taste, and aroma.
You can add it to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, porridge or anything you like eating. However, as the powder is made from raw fresh cranberries, it cannot be dissolved in water.
Side Effects of Cranberries
- People who use blood-thinning medications should not consume cranberries in an abundant amount as they can cause problems
- Cranberries enhance the anti-clotting effect, which can lead to increased bleeding in case of cuts or injury
- Before increasing the intake of cranberries, people with a history of kidney stones should concern their healthcare provider
Cranberries providing a wide range of benefits for health and skin. Explore all of the great possibilities of this amazing berry to see how you can incorporate the cranberry into your healthy and beauty regiment.