9 Surprising Health Benefits to Eat More Cranberries This Fall

By: Healthy Eating Tips

9 Surprising Health Benefits to Eat More Cranberries This Fall. By LifeBuzzFeed.com. Americans consume nearly 400 million pounds of cranberries each year, 20 percent of those during the week of Thanksgiving alone. Packed with nutrients and surprising health benefits, they’re definitely more than a side dish.

You'll take less antibiotics. It’s no secret that cranberries are good for preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) and consuming them on a regular basis could cut back on your need for antibiotics thanks to one powerful antioxidant. All berries contain antioxidant compounds call polyphenols. Cranberries in particular contain a unique type of polyphenol called proanthocyanidins (PACS); studies have shown that PACS help keep the urinary tract free from a bacteria known for getting stuck in places like your bladder walls or stomach lining and wreaking uncomfortable havoc. A study by Ocean Spray researchers found that women who consumed a glass of 27 percent cranberry juice every day for six months reduced the number of UTIs they got by 40 percent compared to those who drank a placebo “UTIs are the second most common infection that leads to antibiotic use, and antibiotic resistance is a major health issue right now,”says Christina Khoo, director of research sciences at Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. “We think that cranberry is the nutritional approach to maintaining your urinary tract health.” You can reduce inflammation. Cranberries are nature’s anti-inflammatory.

Inflammation is the cause of many health conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, or heart disease. But drinking two 8 oz. Glasses of high polyphenol cranberry juice a day could help fight this disease-causing inflammation. The polyphenols interact with other bioactive cranberry compounds to suppress the cells that stimulate inflammation in our bodies and give our immune systems an extra boost. Dietitians recommend foregoing the high sugar cranberry juice blends for an unsweetened or low sugar juice option. You could prevent cancer.

Cranberries are packed with dietary fiber, which may help lower your risk of developing bowel cancer. Dietary fiber creates bulk in your stomach to swiftly move waste through your colon and helps produce butyrate, a substance that inhibits the growth of tumors in your colon and rectum. One cup of fresh cranberries provides nearly 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber, and are a great source of vitamin C and flavonoids, which help prevent cancer-causing carcinogens from forming in the body. You can control diabetes. Cranberries are a diabetic’s dream.

9 Surprising Health Benefits to Eat More Cranberries This Fall

The berry’s high level of PACS may help keep glucose levels balanced. One study showed that drinking unsweetened cranberry juice or eating dried cranberries helps people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. But don’t reach for cranberry supplements, which had no effect on glucose regulation. “Cranberry supplements vary widely in their quality and efficacy,” says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Many supplements contain too little of the active compounds found in cranberries to be useful.” You'll have a happy tummy. The same bacteria that sticks to your bladder walls can also latch on to your stomach lining and cause ulcers, or worse, gastric cancer.

Preliminary research shows that cranberry polyphenols may protect your stomach from ulcers, and a Canadian study found they changed the gut microbiome of mice for the better. Scientists fed mice on a high-fat, high-sugar diet a cranberry extract for eight weeks; not only did the extract lower their glucose levels and insulin sensitivity, but the amount of good bacteria increased in their stomachs. This healthy gut bacteria could potentially help diabetics metabolize glucose better. Scientists hope to explore this link in humans in the future. You'll keep your mind sharp. Keep your mind in tip-top shape with a helping of cranberries.

Cranberries contain two nutrients that play a vital role in protecting your brain from memory loss. Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals that can damage DNA and cause inflammation in the brain, increasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Vitamin C aids in the production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that promotes communication between brain cells and improves movement control and function. “It's best to eat fresh or dried cranberries [versus juices, cranberry drinks, or canned cranberry sauce] in order to get the most benefit with the least amount of added sugar,” says Rumsey. Try sprinkling dried cranberries on oatmeal or salad for a brain-boosting meal.

You’ll have fewer wrinkles. PACs and anthocyanins give cranberries their bright red color, but these antioxidants also promote collagen production, which helps keep your skin tight and gives it that youthful glow. They also protect against inflammation-causing free radicals, which can harm your skin. You'll have a healthier smile. As if cranberry’s antioxidants didn’t work hard enough, they also reduce dental plaque and help prevent gum disease.

The PACs have an anti-inflammatory effect that stops periodontal pathogens and bacteria from forming, which keeps your gums and teeth healthy. “Cranberries are thought to prevent cavities because the PACs prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth,” says Rumsey. You'll keep your heart healthy. A glass of cranberry juice a day could keep the heart doctor away. One study found that drinking cranberry juice daily raised HDL levels, the good kind of cholesterol. Another study by the USDA and Ocean Spray found that people who drank one glass of cranberry juice cocktail (27 percent juice) saw a greater reduction in inflammation and triglycerides (both factors in the development of heart problems) compared to those who took a placebo.

And, a review of cranberry studies concluded that an increased intake of flavonoids, also found in the berry, could lower the risk of heart disease as much as 32 percent. You are watching: 9 Surprising Health Benefits to Eat More Cranberries This Fall. Please Like, Share and Subscribe our channel for more daily videos. Leave us a comment of what you think about this video. Thank you for watching. 10 Foods That Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol. By LifeBuzzFeed.com.

Eat more of these foods to help naturally lower your cholesterol. There's no magical food to keep your heart healthy, but there are a lot of foods that can help—including these foods that help lower your cholesterol. In addition to cutting back on foods that can raise total cholesterol and getting enough exercise, make sure to eat more of these foods that improve your cholesterol profile by raising "good" HDL and/or lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol. These foods include some old standbys, such as oatmeal and fruit, plus a few surprising foods that can help lower cholesterol to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Red Wine: Raise your glass for heart health! In moderation, alcohol is known to raise HDL, or "good," cholesterol. Drinking a daily glass of red wine increased "good" HDL cholesterol and also decreased "bad" LDL cholesterol after a few months, found one study. Red wine also contains antioxidants called polyphenols that help keep your blood vessels healthy and strong.

Remember that moderation means one drink for women or two for men daily and, in this case, more is not better. Salmon: Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that can help reduce blood pressure. Eating salmon can improve your "good" HDL cholesterol, but it won't lower your "bad" LDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps sweep cholesterol off your artery walls, preventing dangerous plaque from forming.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like salmon at least twice per week for heart-healthy benefits. Other fish that contain omega-3s, such as mackerel, tuna and sardines, can also help. Oatmeal: Oatmeal is one of the best cholesterol-fighting foods because it is so high in beta-glucans, the soluble fibers that cause oats to bulk up in liquid when you make oatmeal. Soluble fiber lowers your LDL, or "bad," cholesterol by forming a sticky layer in the small intestine that blocks cholesterol from entering your bloodstream. Make oatmeal and skip the instant packs with lots of added sugar.

Add fruit to your oatmeal to naturally sweeten it and boost the soluble fiber content even more. Apples: Many fruits contain soluble fiber, which is important for lowering cholesterol, but apples have a leg up on other fruits. Apples (especially the skins) contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that latches onto the "bad" cholesterol and guides it through your digestive system and out of your body, effectively lowering your LDL-cholesterol levels. Citrus fruits are also high in pectin, but since it's mostly in the pulp, you'll have to eat your fruits to get the benefits, rather than juice them. Luckily, apples are a little easier to pucker up to than lemons.

Apples are also high in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Beans: How does that song go? "Beans, beans, they're good for your heart"? Well...those lyrics get it right! Beans are packed with cholesterol-busting soluble fiber, but that's not their only benefit. Beans are high in protein, which makes them a heart-healthy replacement for some animal protein sources, such as meat. For the biggest cholesterol-lowering benefits, add beans to chili, tacos and burritos (either in place of or in addition to meat). They're also great in soups and salads. Nuts: Tree nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios and pecans, have been shown to lower both total cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Nuts are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and several vitamins and minerals that are good for heart health. Nuts also contain plant sterols, which are natural compounds that block the cholesterol you eat from entering your bloodstream. While nuts are awesome to eat, don't go crazy. Portion control is still important—there are 163 calories in just 1 ounce of almonds. Add a small handful to oatmeal, top toast with nut butter or make a DIY trail mix with dried fruit and nuts. Avocado: Who doesn't love avocados? They not only taste amazing but also can help lower your cholesterol.

Avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fat, which helps lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. They also contain fiber, antioxidants and phytosterols, such as beta-sitosterol, which have also been shown to lower cholesterol. Don't hog the entire bowl of guacamole, though! One serving is just a quarter of a Hass avocado, which delivers 57 calories. Spread a few slices of avocado on your sandwich instead of mayo, or dip some veggies into a bowl of fresh guacamole.

Dark Chocolate: Chocolate fans rejoice! You might have heard that chocolate is good for you, and it's true. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain powerful antioxidant compounds called flavonoids, which help lower cholesterol. Milk chocolate has less cocoa solids, and thus lower flavonoid levels, and white chocolate is even lower in the good stuff. Reach for small portions of dark chocolate, preferably with a high cocoa content. Or try a sprinkle of cocoa powder in your smoothie or on yogurt to reap chocolate's cholesterol-lowering benefits. Kimchi: Kimchi, a Korean fermented side dish commonly made from cabbage, radish or cucumber, is quickly gaining a following for its many health benefits.

Kimchi is high in fiber and—because it's fermented—is loaded with good bacteria that help keep your gut healthy. Kimchi contains bioactive compounds that lower cholesterol by blocking cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream. The good bacteria produced during fermentation also help lower cholesterol. Kimchi and sauerkraut are usually pretty high in sodium, so watch your portions if you're watching your salt intake. Garlic: Garlic packs a serious health punch. Some people love the flavor and others have been using it as a kitchen cure to boost immunity and promote heart health for years. Recent research has backed garlic's health benefits, especially for your heart. Garlic, along with garlic extract, has been shown to lower cholesterol, possibly by preventing cholesterol from being made in the liver.

Plus, eating garlic may also help lower blood pressure. Give your heart a boost and add garlic to your sauces, salad dressings and stir-fries. You are watching: 10 Foods That Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol. By LifeBuzzFeed.com. Please Like, Share and Subscribe our channel for more daily videos.

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