By Chris Kilham
Of the many purported super-foods, one that originates from North America is the cranberry. Grown in bogs, cranberries are harvested in late fall, just in time for Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners. But this berry has virtues that go far beyond the pretty red blob on the plate wedged between mashed potatoes and stuffing.
A favorite food of Native Americans, cranberries were eaten fresh, juiced, cooked into other foods, or dried and eaten for energy. One favorite food included cranberries and crushed nuts (often acorns) in animal fat. When traveling long distances, such a snack provided concentrated energy.
During harvest, most cranberries are picked using the wet method. The bogs in which cranberry bushes grow are flooded, and then tractors roll through them with beaters that shake the berries off of the bushes. The berries float to the surface of the water. From there they are raked together on the water’s surface, and sucked up into trucks using vacuum hoses.
We know a lot more about cranberries than was known hundreds of years ago. The berries, which may appear red, white or pink depending on their stage of ripeness at time of harvest, contain a variety of beneficial compounds. One of the compounds often given special attention are PACs, or proanthocyanidins. These are not only potent antioxidants, but possess the capacity to cause the formation of new, healthy collagen, which is a key agent in tissue. The production of collagen is basically a youth-enhancing effect, helping to keep internal organs and skin more youthful.
Additionally, cranberries contain alpha-terpineol, which is both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The berries contain the cancer-fighter benzaldehyde, glucose-modifying chlorogenic acids, and lutein, which enhances vision and reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Additionally, cranberries are rich in the nutrient quercetin, which improves heart health, fights cancer, inhibits aging of cells, and reduces inflammation…….
Source: Fox News