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Benefits of Cranberries

Cranberry: An Ingredient of Mediterranean Recipes

Cranberry: Heart Healthy Food

Cranberry is a low, creeping shrub that grows up to 2 meters in length and 5 to 20 centimeters in height. A prominent crop in Canadian provinces and American states, this shrub bears berries characterized by a deep red color when fully ripe. The fruit is edible with a typical acidic taste that can often overwhelm its sweetness.

A number of nutritionists and health care professionals recommend cranberries as a heart healthy food, particularly for the plethora of antioxidants present in it.

The Cranberry Institute quotes Joe Vinson, Ph.D., research chemist at the University of Scranton as saying, “Cranberries contained the most antioxidant phenols compared to 19 commonly eaten fruits. Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants and should be eaten more often.”

It offers a lot of other health benefits including:

Heart Healthy Food

Cranberries help maintain a healthy heart in many different ways.  They help to keep “bad” cholesterol levels in check and help prevent arterial clogging. It also decreases the risk of atherosclerosis, (clogging of the arteries) by preventing the formation of plaque on the arterial walls.

In the same manner, the consumption of this deep red berry diminishes the chances of stroke in healthy individuals while in those who have already suffered a stroke, cranberries can help the arteries to heal.

Weight Loss Food

The high content of antioxidants in cranberries can help regulate your metabolism and ensure the normal functioning of the digestive system which in turn helps you lose weight faster.

Strengthens the Immune System

The main role of antioxidants is to fight harmful toxins which suppress the immune system. Rich sources of antioxidants, cranberries promote immune system health thereby increasing the body’s resistance against sickness and disease.

Treats Urinary Tract Infections

The intake of cranberry juice has been shown to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Proanthocyanidins, a major constituent of cranberries, inhibit E. coli bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall, which helps one avoid kidney and bladder problems.

Relieves Skin Conditions

Cranberries are also considered an effective remedy to help relieve skin problems including psoriasis, acne, dermatitis and eczema.

Cranberries can be consumed either fresh or processed such as in juice, sauces, jams, or sweetened dried cranberries.

Go For Spring Greens For Better Health And Weight Control

Leafy spring greens such as kale, chard and spinach contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals as well as calcium, dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids along with a nice dose of antioxidant plant chemicals such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

At just 10 to 25 calories per cup, dig into spring and get ready your beach bodies ready!

Mixed Spring Greens with Lemon, Shallot, and Mustard Vinaigrette

A simple way to dress a fresh bowl of mixed salad greens.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 small shallots, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One 5-ounce container mixed salad greens

Method

In bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallots, and mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with mixed salad greens. Serve immediately.

Serves 5

NUTRITION

Per 1 ounce salad greens and 2 tablespoons vinaigrette:

Calories: 128

Fat: 14 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, < 1g ALA)

  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 18 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: <1 g
  • Sugars: <1 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Recipe excerpt from the book: Prevent a Second Heart Attack (Three Rivers Press, 2011).

Grill Your Fish—Don’t fry it!

Grilled Swordfish
Don’t fry your fish and ruin a perfectly delicious heart-healthy food.

OK—it’s still summer and the grill is still hot (along with the weather).

You know that for better heart health you should be eating a couple of fish meals per week, especially the deep cold water—omega-3 packed kind of fatty fish.

But whatever you do—don’t fry your fish and ruin a perfectly delicious heart-healthy food.

“Eat like you’re in Crete” and flavor fish with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, a little lemon and herbs–throw it on the grill and you are good to go. Your heart, arteries and taste buds will thank you for this simple preparation.

Chef Mario Spina’s Grilled Swordfish

Delicious served with a side of Braised Broccoli Rabe

Ingredients:

  • Two 6-ounce center cut swordfish fillets
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place fish fillets in a shallow dish. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano or mint, salt, and black pepper. Pour over fish and refrigerate for one hour. Preheat a grill or sauté pan to medium high heat. Grill or sauté swordfish for about 5 minutes on each side depending on thickness and desired degree of doneness.

Meanwhile, heat marinade in a small saucepan, or in the skillet used to cook the swordfish, until boiling for 1 minute. Serve hot marinade over grilled fish with a pinch of fresh mint for garnish.

Serves 2

NUTRITION
Per 6-ounce serving:

  • Food weight: 4.0
  • Calories: 395
  • Fat: 27 g (<1 g EPA, 1 g DHA, <1 g ALA)
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 66 mg
  • Sodium: 294 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 3 g
  • Dietary Fiber: < 1 g
  • Sugars: 1 g
  • Protein: 34 g

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Recipe Source: An excerpt from the book Prevent a Second Heart Attack by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN; Published by Three Rivers Press; February 2011 Copyright © 2011 Janet Brill, Ph.D. To learn more about this book please visit http://www.DrJanet.com

I Can’t Believe I Ate the WHOLE Thing!

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

Eating whole grains is healthier.

Whole grains consist of any grain that has retained its starchy endosperm, fiber-rich bran, and its germ after milling. No doubt about it, eating whole grains is far healthier for you, your digestive system, and your heart when compared to their fiberless refined cousins. So try and get in at least three whole grains a day and remember, “three is key.” Most people are familiar with what I call the “fantastic 4,” so go for at least three of the fantastic 4 every day (or be more adventurous and try some of the really tasty less familiar whole grains like quinoa, barley, millet, wild rice, or kasha).

Fantastic 4:

  1. Oatmeal (steel-cut is best)
  2. 100% whole-grain bread
  3. Popcorn (simply pop some kernels up in a brown paper bag in the microwave)
  4. Brown rice

Stay healthy, stay lean, and remember to “eat the whole thing” …whole grains, that is.

Delicious Make-Ahead Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

Mix the dry ingredients the night before then finish the batter in the morning to start your day with a freshly baked muffin.

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed oil

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat six 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper bake cups and coat insides of paper cups with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Place raisins and water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high power for 25 seconds. Let sit for 2 minutes to plump the raisins.

In a medium bowl, stir together flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside. Combine applesauce, milk, egg whites, flax seed oil, and raisins. Add to flour mixture; stir just until incorporated. Don’t over mix. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups filling each about three-fourths full.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned and the muffin is firm in the middle. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm.

NUTRITION per muffin:

  • Calories: 157
  • Fat: 3 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, 1 g ALA)
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g
  • Cholesterol: < 1mg
  • Sodium: 69 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 30 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugars: 13 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Excerpted with permission from Prevent a Second Heart Attack.