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The Mighty Cranberry

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The Mighty Cranberry

Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce…yes, but how else can you take advantage of the many nutrients in cranberries? Other than at the holidays when you have cranberry sauce…often times in a can, frozen or even, most rarely consumed, fresh…you probably don’t think much about them!

These lip-smacking tart berries are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients and are low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. They pack more punch than many other superfoods but it can be a challenge to find them after the holidays and find ways to include them in your diet. Hopefully, we can help you with that!

CRANBERRY BASICS

The most common species - Vaccinium macrocarpon – is grown in North America. Cranberries grow on vines and many are water-harvested. They flood the bogs and the berries, which have a small air bubble in them, float to the top! It was also recently discovered that the floating berries exposed to direct sunlight may develop an increased amount of phytonutrients and antioxidants making them even better for you!

Cranberries are often treated with a number of pesticides. When you can find organic cranberries you might want to stock up! If you cannot find organic, some of the surface pesticides may be removed by soaking them in a salt water solution of 9 parts water and 1 part salt.

Their very tart nature makes them a challenge for most people to consume raw by themselves – but they do make tasty additions to some of your favorite dishes. Most often, cranberries are consumed in juice, jams, and sauce form. To avoid added sugar homemade options may suit you best where you can control how much sugar or natural sweeteners you preference.

VITAMIN C

Let’s talk antioxidants! Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the predominant antioxidants in cranberries. Your bones, muscles, and skin all benefit from Vitamin C. Benefits of the antioxidants in Vitamin C include supporting a healthy immune system, promoting a healthy heart and eyes, already within normal ranges.

VITAMIN E

Cranberries are also rich in Vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble antioxidant that supports healthy skin and eyes. Vitamin E helps neutralize oxidation which may explain why researchers think it may play a role in protecting the parts of the eye that are impacted by oxidation. It also promotes a healthy immune system.

MANGANESE

This essential mineral, found in many foods, plays a role in many chemical processes in the body, including antioxidants. Manganese may also support your body’s metabolism, the processing of carbohydrates, proteins and cholesterol and bone formation. You might think of it as the “enabler” helping your body’s processes be efficient.

VITAMIN K1

Also known as phylloquinone, Vitamin K1 is found in certain vegetable and fruits. Its primary benefit is its role in normal blood clotting. It is also helpful for bone health and may often help reduce bone loss.

COPPER

Copper is a trace element that is important for many of your body’s processes. Benefits are generally found to be related to supporting cardiovascular health including blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose metabolism support. When paired with iron, copper enables the body to form red blood cells.

PHYTONUTRIENTS

Phytonutrients are plant-based chemicals that are believed to help your body function properly and supports a healthy immune system. These nutrients support a healthy urinary tract, gastro-intestinal system, and may also play a role in dental health by limiting the amount of bacteria that sticks to your gums! preventative in keeping bacteria from attaching itself to tissue walls.1

WHOLE, JUICE, DRIED, OR SUPPLEMENTS

Recent studies indicate that consuming the whole fruit is the most healthy form of consumption, there is a synergistic effect in the nutrients when the skin and flesh of the berry are eaten together. Whole cranberries may be challenging to find due to season and popularity at your nearest market place so stock up and freeze them or look in the freezer section of your market for unsweetened frozen berries.

Cranberry juice has long been touted as a “healthy drink” but usually, is blended with other sugary juices and added sweeteners. “Pure” cranberry juice is available in some markets and would generally be a better alternative if you are looking for juice.

The convenience and availability of dried cranberries are appealing. They are available year-round but tend to be loaded with added sugar and sweetened juices so check the label before you buy to see how much added sugar you are consuming.

So, go get some fresh cranberries while you can and treat your body to a powerful punch of antioxidants and phytonutrients! Add them to smoothies, make salsa, chop them up and add them to oatmeal. If the crunch and tartness of raw cranberries isn’t your style, try roasting them at 425oF for10-15 minutes and add them to cereal, salads or power bowls (see the recipe below).

Cranberries have long been cherished for their nutritional properties. Their benefits should not end with the holiday season, for instance, you may consider taking a cranberry supplement year-round.

At NutriGold our Cranberry Gold™ is made from whole cranberries, including, seed, skin, fruit, and their naturally occurring oils. Cranberry Gold™ is Non GMO Project Verified, USDA Organic Certified, Vegan and Kosher Certified, Verified FREE of Gluten and Other Common Allergens, 5-Star Certified by Cranberry Quality Assurance, and is free of Magnesium Stearate and other additives . Along with extensive Third Party testing for 140+ Purity and Potency Markers. Making sure that you get the most out of these delicious berries.

Recipes


POWER BOWL WITH ROASTED CRANBERRIES

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS (in order of use)

2-3 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 scrubbed or peeled large sweet potatoes

1 T ground cinnamon

1 T paprika (smoked or hot – your choice)

Sea salt

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups filtered water

½ tsp sea salt

1/3 C fresh chives, chopped

2 T aged balsamic vinegar

2 T tamari (substitute soy sauce)

12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and dried

2-4 T pure maple syrup

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cardamom

1 C fresh baby spinach

¼ C crumbled feta cheese

Lime wedges

Salt & Pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat oven to 425oF.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil and drizzle with 2 T olive oil.
  3. Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges or cubes and place them on the baking sheet, add the remaining 1 T of olive oil and toss them to coat.
  4. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, paprika, and sea salt and toss to combine.
  5. Roast for 20-30 minutes until golden and tender but still firm.
  6. Cover another baking sheet with heavy-duty foil for the cranberries.
  7. Place the cranberries on the baking sheet and drizzle with the desired amount of maple syrup.
  8. Combine maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom and drizzle over the cranberries.
  9. Roast for 10-15 minutes until tender and place in a bowl with any juice.
  10. While the potatoes and cranberries are roasting, add the quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan.
  11. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 12-15 minutes until moisture is gone.
  12. Fluff the quinoa using chopsticks and transfer to a bowl.
  13. Add chopped chives, tamari or soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Toss gently.

Prepare the bowls by grouping or layering the sweet potatoes, quinoa, arugula, and cranberries and sprinkle with feta cheese.

LEMON CRANBERRY MUFFINS (VEGAN)

Makes 12 Adapted from Food52.com

INGREDIENTS:

½ C all purpose flour

1 C whole wheat flour

¾ C cornmeal

2/3 C organic sugar

1 T baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

1 T apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ½ C fresh cranberries

¼ C raw walnut pieces (optional)

2 tsp grated lemon zest

1 C non-dairy milk (unsweetened)

¼ C lemon juice

¼ C canola (or other neutral oil)

2 tsp extra sugar for dusting

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat an oven to 400oF degrees and
  2. Line a muffin tin with paper inserts.
  3. Cut the cranberries in half, rough chop them and set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 1/3 C sugar.
  5. Combine 1/3 C of sugar and 2 T of the dry flour mix and toss gently with the cranberries until coated.
  6. Combine wet ingredients: non-dairy milk, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla and add to the flour mix. Stir until well combined.
  7. Fold in walnuts.
  8. Fold in cranberries.
  9. Fill muffin liners to 2/3 full. Sprinkle each with a pinch of sugar.
  10. Bake 12-15 minutes. Muffins should be a light golden color and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted.


ORANGE CRANBERRY CHUTNEY

1 package (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup orange juice

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup chopped peeled Golden Delicious apple

Cook ingredients for 10-15 minutes on medium heat, until berries have popped and liquid is thick. Serve warm or cold.






References:

  1. http://www.nola.com/healthy-eating/2015/11/six_hea...

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