Ingredient Breakdown: Cranberry
Cranberries are not just a staple food at Thanksgiving – they are a staple berry for the entire year! Many people only think of using cranberries for sauces, pies, jams, juices, or to top tender turkey slices, but cranberries are for so much more! Curious to know more? We can’t wait to explain the health and skin care benefits of cranberries, our favorite festive fruit.
All About Cranberries
Cranberry is a red, tart fruit that is either round or oval depending on the variety. They grow on an evergreen vine in the United States and are harvested in September and October. Early colonists called them cranberries because the fruit’s flower resembles the head and bill of a sandhill crane.
Why do we eat cranberries at Thanksgiving? It’s said that Native Americans introduced the cranberry to early colonists, but the colonists were indifferent to the way the Native Americans used the fruit. Instead they used the cranberries the way they used similar fruits – as a tart sauce over wild fowl. Due to the abundance of cranberries at the time, many believe that the pilgrims and Native Americans would have likely eaten them at the first Thanksgiving.
In the mid 1500’s Native Americans harvested wild cranberries as a staple food and used them in foods, drinks, dyes, and medicinal remedies. During the winter months, fur traders would eat the berries in an energy bar type of food the Indians and introduced them to. In the 1800’s American sailors ate cranberries on long voyages to prevent scurvy. Today, cranberries are enjoyed for their flavor as well as the other benefits they provide. Let’s delve a little deeper into some of these other benefits.
Cranberry extract can improve immune function. The benzoic acid and other compounds in cranberries provide antiseptic properties that help to reduce infection and can kill bad bacteria. Cranberries are commonly used to treat bladder infections, bad skin infections, as well as the common cold and flu. They also contain many disease-fighting antioxidants. You can also prevent UTIs with cranberries!
Protects the Skin
It isn’t uncommon to want ageless, glowing skin that highlights your natural beauty and doesn’t have need for a facelift. It also isn’t uncommon to desire skin that is healthy enough to protect the body. Cranberries contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect skin cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals can lead to tissue damage, which results in wrinkles, fine lines, dull complexion, and age spots.
Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and various skin conditions often all stem from inflammation. Cranberries are an anti-inflammatory food filled with antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E, anthocyanins, and manganese that help to naturally fight inflammation. Antioxidants help to keep the body clear of free radicals that can cause damage to enzymes, cellular membranes, and DNA.
Boosts the Digestive Tract
When the digestive tract is overwhelmed with toxins and build up you can experience bloating and water retention. The anti-septic, anti-diarrheal, and detoxifying properties of cranberries help the digestive system. Cranberries help to balance the bacteria in the digestive tract much like probiotics. A decrease in harmful bacteria means there is more room for healthy bacteria that the gut needs. A healthy gut not only improves the immune system, it helps the body to absorb more nutrients.
Did these benefits leave you yearning to know how to add cranberries to your lifestyle? Lucky for you, we have a few suggestions:
- Purchase skin care products, or make your own natural products, that contain cranberry seed oil such as anti-aging creams, face masks, cleansers, or eye serums. Try our Anti-Aging Face Oil, which is infused with cranberry, raspberry, and blueberry!
- Drink 100% fruit juice that includes cranberries
- Make a homemade trail mix complete with dried cranberries
- Add cranberries to your muffins, smoothies, cobblers or pies
- Don’t save cranberries for your Thanksgiving turkey, use it all year with pork and chicken dishes as well as on top of salads
- Add dried cranberries to your favorite cereal or oatmeal
- Make a Cranberry DIY Face Mask: check out the below video from Joanna Vargas!