Stop Ulcers with this Tiny Berry!

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Cranberries are a native North American fruit that flourish in the coastal bogs of the Carolinas and northward into Canada. Before Europeans set foot in North America, North American Indians used cranberries as food and medicine for the treatment of bladder and kidney diseases. In recent years, its health benefits have been explored and confirmed through scientific research.

Researchers found that cranberries have more antioxidant phenols than any of the other 19 most popular fruits in the American diet. These phenols trigger the production of enzymes that make cancer-causing substances water soluble and easily eliminated from the body. The greatest antioxidant content is found in pure cranberry juice, next are fresh and dried berries, and then cranberry sauce. Juice drinks and cocktails have the least.

Thwarts traveler’s diarrhea and UTIs. Health experts have known for years that cranberries battle bacteria. Studies show they prevent E. coli bacteria from sticking to the inner surface of your stomach, intestines, and urinary tract. These dangerous bacteria are responsible for traveler’s diarrhea and some urinary tract infections, so making things slippery for them might lend you some protection. What’s more, a new study shows that eating cranberries helps prevent tooth decay by the same anti-stick effect.

Fends off ulcers. Now researchers say cranberry works against ulcer-causing H. pylori bacteria in your stomach. One glass of cranberry juice a day could be enough to flush the bacteria out of your stomach before they can dig in and wreak havoc.

If you want the berry’s benefits without the tartness, try cranberry juice extract supplements. You’ll find them at health food stores.

4 things you should know about cranberries

It’s a shame to limit your enjoyment of cranberries to cranberry sauce on festive occasions. Here’s how to enjoy them year round.

  • Add some zing to cereal or fruit salad with dehydrated berries. Dried cranberries are sold in grocery stores everywhere. You’ll find them with the other dried fruits.
  • Take advantage of their natural tartness. Try cranberries as a substitute for lemon or vinegar when you’re dressing salad greens.
  • Keep them fresh for about two months in your refrigerator. When you take them out, they may look damp, but that’s OK. Just cull out any bad berries.
  • Freeze them so you’ll have some on hand until next year’s crop comes in. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer for several hours. Dump the frozen berries into a freezer bag and date the bag. Once you thaw them, the berries will be soft, so use them right away.

The Complete Guidebook to Digestive Health

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  • FC&A Staff Writer