Unique, wild and natural by habitat, cranberries are rich in phyto-nutrients (naturally derived plant compounds), particularly proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which are essential for all-round wellness. The berries are indeed containing numerous chemical substances that may offer protection from tooth cavities, urinary tract infection, and inflammatory diseases.
The berry-plant is described as an evergreen dwarf, creeping shrub, or a low-lying trailing vine belonging within the family of Ericaceae, in the genus: Vaccinium, and subgenus: Oxycoccos. Scientific name: Vaccinium macrocarpon.
Cranberries are a very powerful and tasty fruit. They are categorized as a super fruit due to their antioxidant and nutrient qualities. They are actually a berry that grows on a small bush in boggy areas. Many parts of the northern United States and Canada grow cranberries as a major commercial crop.
Although cranberries are sweet, they have a bitter taste that can overwhelm the sweetness. They are an essential part of many holiday traditions in the United States, Canada, and even Europe.
Cranberries Health Benefits
- Moderate levels of Vitamin C
- Moderate levels of dietary fiber
- Moderate levels of manganese
- Balanced profile of essential micronutrients
- Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity score of 9,584 units per 100 g
- Source of polyphenol antioxidants, which fight cancer
- Inhibits tooth decay
- Decreases the occurrence of kidney stones
- Has tannins that clean out the urinary tract, preventing bacterial urinary tract infections
- Abundant source of flavonoids such as proanthocyanidins, flavonols and quercetin, which prevent cancer
- Anti-aging effects
- Lowers serum glucose levels in type 2 diabetes patients
- Reduces lipid oxidation and increases plasma antioxidant
Cranberries are often mixed with high levels of sugar to counteract their bitter taste. This can be a big negative, but you can find whole berry juices and fresh berries in almost any grocery store or supermarket. Cranberries are an affordable and easily available fruit that can fight cancer, prevent urinary tract infections and slow the aging process.
Be aware the cranberries can also interact with certain medications, so watch out for unintended side effects. Even two cups of cranberry juice a day is enough to feel the great health boosting effects. Try a glass of one hundred percent juice or take a cranberry supplement to keep your body going strong.
Subgenus Oxycoccus, sect. Oxycoccus
- Vaccinium oxycoccos or Oxycoccus palustris (Common Cranberry or Northern Cranberry) is widespread throughout the cool temperate northern hemisphere, including northern Europe, northern Asia and northern North America. It has small 5–10 mm leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with a purple central spike, produced on finely hairy stems. The fruit is a small pale pink berry, with a refreshing sharp acidic flavour.
- Vaccinium microcarpum or Oxycoccus microcarpus (Small Cranberry) occurs in northern North America, northern Europe and northern Asia, and differs from V. oxycoccos in the leaves being more triangular, and the flower stems hairless. Some botanists include it within V. oxycoccos.
- Vaccinium macrocarpon or Oxycoccus macrocarpus (Large cranberry, American Cranberry, Bearberry) native to northern North America across Canada, and eastern United States, south to North Carolina at high altitudes). It differs from V. oxycoccos in the leaves being larger, 10–20 mm long, and in its slightly apple-like taste.
- Subgenus Oxycoccus, sect. Oxycoccoides
- Vaccinium erythrocarpum or Oxycoccus erythrocarpus (Southern Mountain Cranberry) native to southeastern North America at high altitudes in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and also in eastern Asia.