A holiday favorite, cranberry sauce is an antioxidant super fruit. Thanksgiving dinners would certainly not be complete without serving cranberry sauce. While its festive partnership with turkey is the stuff of all great Thanksgiving dinners, cranberry sauce also has a number of surprising health benefits. It can help fight a variety of seasonal ailments like the flu and the common cold, as well as viral infections like mononucleosis. An excellent source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and helpful to the prevention of gastroenteritis, cranberry sauce is a healthy and delicious condiment.
Cranberry sauce is made with cranberries that are boiled in a solution comprised of water and sugar. The flavor may differ depending on geography. In North America, cranberry sauce is often sweetened whereas in Europe, it is slightly sour. There are some recipes that include other interesting ingredients like orange juice, ginger, cinnamon, maple syrup, zest, and slivered almonds.
Cranberry sauce is sometimes condensed, uncondensed, jellied, or loose. Most of the time, cranberry sauce in can is in jellied form, which could be served sliced or intact. Some brands may not be advisable for vegetarians, due to the presence of gelatin.
In terms of health benefits, cranberry sauce easily takes center stage:
- Prevention of gastroenteritis: According to a scientific research by the Massachusetts-based Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the condiment contains compounds that can effectively destroy E. coli bacteria, the microorganism that is blamed for stomach flu, tooth decay, and kidney infections. Cranberry sauce creates an effective barrier that prevents the bacteria from going near target organs.
- Excellent Source of Vitamin C: A 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce contributes 4 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. In this regard, cranberry sauce can help keep the immune system healthy so the body maintains strong resistance against common illnesses like colds, cough, and flu. At the same time, this nutrient is essential to the health of the gums, teeth, and facilitates faster healing of wounds.
- Antioxidants: The condiment is naturally high in antioxidants – compounds that help protect the human body against free radicals from the environment. Antioxidants provide protection against heart diseases and certain types of cancer as well. Some studies have also highlighted the anti-aging features of antioxidants.
- Source of other important nutrients: Cranberry sauce can be a good source of significant nutrients like magnesium, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and sodium. It also provides Vitamins A, B6, and K as well as niacin, folate, and riboflavin.
- Help prevent constipation and irritable bowel syndrome: A 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce contains 1 g of fiber. The current RDA for dietary fiber is 25 grams. Maintaining the optimum level of daily fiber helps promote healthier levels of cholesterol in the body, and keeps the bowels regular.
A single cup of cranberry sauce may contain up to 400 calories, which is significantly more than a cup of fresh cranberries. Since the sauce is tart and flavorful, you don’t need to eat a whole cup – just a couple of tablespoons will also jazz up those holiday turkeys.
Or you can use cranberry sauce to cut the amount of oil in certain dressings and marinades. Cranberry sauce contains no fats or trans fats, which are linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and so can make the dish healthier.
If you decide to make your own cranberry sauce, you can use less sugar, Stevia and other natural sweeteners. This is also better for dental health as well as your waistline. Or choose a sugar-free or reduced-sugar cranberry sauce, to save on calories.
Cranberries have long been recognized as among the modern super fruits. This is because they are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and can help prevent gastroenteritis. One of the best ways to consume cranberries is in the holiday favorite cranberry sauce. This special condiment has been widely popular in the United States, Canada, and Europe. With new low sugar varieties on the market, you can cut your calories too.