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Medicinal Foods

Cranberries

Cranberries

Recommended for the following patterns:
Damp Heat in the Bladder

Related recipes:
Konnyaku & Cranberry Dieter's Delight

Eastern Health Description

Cranberries were a popular food with Native Americans who included them in pemmican and game dishes, as well as medicinally to treat blood poisoning. They are believed to be native to the bogs of both Europe and North America.
Cranberry is acidic, sour, cool, and considered an antiscorbutic (prevents scurvy), bronchodilator, urinary antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, and vasodilator. Cranberry inhibits the adhesion of bacteria (often E. coli) to the urinary tract, perhaps due to a polymer contained in the plant.
They have been used to treat asthma, burning urine, cancer, cystitis, diabetes, fever, hemorrhoids, kidney stones, poor appetite, skin disorders, and urinary tract infections. They contain vitamin C, bioflavonoids (anthocyanins), ellagic acid and fiber. It is believed that their high flavonoid content is beneficial for in the formation of visual purple, a pigment in the eyes, essential in night vision. They also contain tannic and oxalic acids, which if overused can contribute to the formation of kidney stones, and inhibit the absorption of calcium. Thus, they should thus be used in moderation.
Look for plump, bright red, shiny hard berries. Avoid those that are soft, leaky or shriveled. Good berries actually tend to bounce. They store for up to a couple of months in the refrigerator. The benzoic acid in the berries works as a natural preservative. Commercial berries are frequently treated with growth hormones, though not usually with insecticides.
Berries are tart, can be sweetened with honey or dates, and eaten in jams, relishes, sauces, breads, cakes, juice, and added to stuffing, juice. Dried cranberries can be used in place of raisins.

Western Health Description

cranberries have significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals calledpro-anthocyanidins (PACs). Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries have potential health benefits against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections.

Antioxidant compounds in cranberries such as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), anthocyanidin flavonoids, cyanidin, peonidin and quercetin may prevent cardiovascular disease by counteracting against cholesterol plaque formation in the heart and blood vessels. Further, these compounds help body lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL-good cholesterol levels in the blood.

Research studies shows that cranberry juice consumption offers protection against gram-negative bacterial infections such as E.coli in the urinary system by inhibiting bacterial attachment to the bladder and urethra.

Consumption of cranberries makes urine acidic. This, along with the bacterial anti-adhesion property of cranberry juice helps prevent formation of alkaline (calcium ammonium phosphate) stones in the urinary tract by working against proteus bacterial infections.

Further, the berries prevent plaque formation on the tooth surface by interfering with the ability of another gram-negative bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, to sticking on the surface. It thus helps prevent development of cavities in a way similar to the action in preventing urinary tract infections.

The berries are also good source of many vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, -carotene,
lutein-zeaxanthin and folate and minerals like potassium, and manganese.

Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or ORAC (measurement of antioxidant strength of food items) demonstrates cranberry with an ORAC score of 9,584 units per 100 g, one of the highest in edible fruits.

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