The Versatile Berry

The combination of polyphenols in cranberries, including flavonoids like proanthocyanidins and nonflavonoids like ellagic acid, gives cranberries their strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cranberries may help reduce total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, improve HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and prevent atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Researchers have also found that cranberry extracts can reduce the growth and proliferation of certain cancer cells. Although fresh and frozen berries are way too tart to be had alone, they make great additions to smoothies that include sweeter fruits and can also be cooked into sauces. You can sprinkle dried cranberries onto warm bowls of oats, amaranth, or quinoa, bake into muffins and breads, or then tossed onto green salads and steamed vegetables.