SCIENCE & HEALTH
The oil extracted from cranberry seeds contains an impressive amount of the omega-3 alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA). It is one of the rare vegetable oils that has a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. Thanks to its high concentration of vitamin E, it is often used in the pharmaceutical industry in skin treatments.
Cranberries get their red colouring from high concentrations of anthocyanidins, the molecules that are responsible for the red pigments of the skin. This colourful molecule also has a high antioxidant potential.
Cranberries have four air pockets inside that allow them to float to the surface of water. This makes harvesting them particularly interesting.
Their acidic, firm flesh contains dietary fibre. The juice that is extracted from the fruit has the same acidic pH as lemon juice and is high in vitamin C.
CRANBERRIES: A VERSATILE FRUIT
Native Americans discovered cranberries well before our ancestors arrived, and science confirms it today: in addition to being a delicious fruit, cranberries have a lot of health benefits. Classified as a functional food, which Health Canada defines as food that is similar in appearance to conventional foods that are used in normal diets and provide, in addition to their basic nutritional functions, proven physiological benefits or reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Cranberries are made up of several polyphenols, a family of antioxidants that includes proanthocyanidin, a molecule that has a unique type A structure in cranberries. The antioxidant properties of cranberries are superior to that of blueberries, plums, blackberries, raspberries, apples, strawberries and grapes. According to researchers, antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules in the body that can damage the cellular membrane over time and cause cancer or cardiovascular disease. By eating cranberries, we can prevent some of these illnesses.
What's more is that due to the antioxidants found in cranberries, they help to increase “good cholesterol” which, contrary to “bad cholesterol,” cleans the artery walls. In this sense, they are similar to red wine. Furthermore, cranberries also have antiadhesive properties that help to fight URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS and gastrointestinal upset, and they even improve oral health. The proanthocyanidins found in cranberries act as an antiadhesive and prevent bacteria from sticking to the intestinal walls, stomach, gums and bladder, preventing infection. Cranberries can therefore reduce the need to rely on antibiotics.
Recent studies have shown that the components in cranberries have an effect on 80% of the bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. This includes the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is responsible for the majority of urinary tract infections (cystitis), particularly in women. However, it is not that the components of cranberries kill bacteria. They simply act as a shield to prevent bacteria from adhering to the targeted organ. These antiadhesive properties prevent infections in the stomach, particularly chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers. Cranberries also reduce the risk of dental cavities and plaque, which can cause gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis).
Apart from proanthocyanidins, research has also shown that other types of polyphenols (including flavonoids) present in cranberries slow the growth of different types of cancer. There is a lot of research being done to try to assess the anticarcinogenic potential of cranberries. Let's not forget that cranberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C. All you need is half a cup of fresh cranberries to meet the recommended daily amount for adults. It is not surprising that back in the 17th century, sailors from eastern North America would eat a lot of cranberries during their long stints at sea to help prevent scurvy. Although they noticed the benefits of these small berries in preventing the illness, they couldn't have known at the time that it was due to their high concentration of vitamin C.
TO FIGHT AND PREVENT URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS (CYSTITIS):
Cranberries protect against infections, particularly urinary tract infections in women, because they contain a certain type of flavonoid that prevents bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. UTIs are one of the most common bacterial infection. It is a recurring problem in 25% of women. The E. coli bacteria, which is responsible for 80 to 90% of these infections, is becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics. Recent studies have shown that the antibacterial components in cranberries have an effect on 80% of the bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
Here are 3 NUTRA-FRUIT products that have the highest concentration of cranberries to include in a healthy, varied diet: