The Little Cranberry, an Antioxidant Giant...

    Cranberry's make some of the finest juice combinations.

Cranberry juice was first made by American settlers around 1683. For those who like it, cranberry juice has a number of health benefits, and especially for all of you that have some excess fat to lose. Cranberry juice contains high levels of organic acids, which have an emulsifying effect upon fat deposits. Cranberry juice is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and salicylic acid. Also the vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, E (alpha tocopherol) and vitamin K (phylloquinone). These red, tart berries are great when eaten fresh, or when drinking their juice. They've got an interesting taste, and are good for the body. Cranberries have a high level of phytochemical antioxidants, nearly five times as many as broccoli. These antioxidants help to prevent oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which can cause cell and DNA damage.

For the cardiovascular system and for many parts of the digestive tract (including the mouth and gums, stomach, and colon) cranberry has been shown to provide important anti-inflammatory benefits. The antioxidant components of cranberries also appear to play a key role in cranberry's cardiovascular benefits. In animal studies, these antioxidant benefits have been clearly associated with decreased risk of high blood pressure. New research shows how consumption of cranberry juice can reduce the risk of chronic, unwanted inflammation in the stomach, large intestine (colon). Animals with stomach viruses were given natural cranberry juice to drink. The results were overwhelmingly positive. The virus didn't spread nor did it latch on to red blood cells. When it comes to urinary tract infections caused by a strain of E coli bacteria, cranberry juice compounds may help. Some of the compounds in the juice block the bacteria from sticking to the cells in the body, so that the body can more easily flush the bacteria out.

According to researchers at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Results in a 2002 study suggest that cranberry juice may inhibit a type of bacteria that is a common cause of ear and respiratory infections in children. In this study it was found that cranberry juice can inhibit certain strains of Haemophilus influenzae, a type of bacteria found in the nose and throat of 75% of healthy children and adults. The bacteria can also cause infections, and may be responsible for up to 40% of bacterially-derived middle ear infections. That's a lot of benefits coming from a small fruit.  Cranberry's anti-adhesion properties caused by the minerals found in the fruit help rinse the body of urinary tract infections caused by E. coli bacteria.  The presence of quinic acid makes it possible for cranberry juice to help prevent the development of kidney stones. It makes sense since cranberry can rid the body of wastes and bacteria.

I don't know if wake boarding through a bog of floating cranberries is healthy, but it sure looks fun. Unsweetened cranberry juice, has nothing but good news for the teeth and gums. Experts say cranberry juice can inhibit the growth of mouth bacteria that causes plaque. So drink up. In the case of our gums, chronic, excessive levels of inflammation around our gums can damage the tissues that support our teeth. Phytonutrients in cranberry help reduce this inflammatory cascade. A healthy dose of cranberry juice about two 16oz. glasses a day (about the size of a small bottled water) ensures your teeth are fresh and clean all the time. Cranberry juice is also effective in inhibiting the growth of peptic ulcers, and while cranberry juice is a natural diuretic, it doesn't deplete your body of potassium like dangerous pharmaceutical diuretics. Watch out for the soaring sugar content and the acidity of some commercially available cranberry juices, make your own it's always better. It's sad but you you will find that many brands of cranberry juice are in fact only 30% juice, and not all of it cranberry, with the remainder of the beverage made from sweeteners, preservatives, and water. Processing disrupts cranberries antioxidant value, and the health benefits from cranberry juice are decreased. Always choose organic. Now I want to warn you. Don't over do the juice! You know what they say about too much of a good thing. Excessive consumption of any juices can contribute to obesity, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems, such as excessive gas, bloating and abdominal pain. So add a glass or two of 100% unsweetened cranberry juice to your weekly diet and enjoy the many benefits. Good Luck..

 So I gotta say one of my favorite ways to relax on these hot spring weekends, is with a Vodka & Cranberry juice:

"Vodka Cran." (or Cape Codder)
  • 2 oz Sky Vodka 
  • 6 oz 100% Organic Cranberry Juice 
  • Add ice to a tall cocktail glass.
  • Pour in the vodka and cranberry juice and stir.
  • Squeeze a little fresh lime juice, and garnish with the lime slice.         

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