Cranberries generally come into season around Autumn, specifically between September and November. This timing is important, as they are packed with important nutrients and vitamins to help us survive the Winter months. While these nutrients are fantastic for our health in general, they also have great benefits for your skin, as well.
Uses of Cranberries
A very versatile fruit, cranberries can be made into juices, jams, sauces, drinks and plenty of other longer-lasting treats. You can also freeze cranberries by spreading them out on a baking tray until frozen, and then pouring them into a container or bag. Doing it this way stops them from freezing in one big clump, so you can use a little at a time when needed.
Although their many uses mean that we can enjoy their flavour and benefits all year round, the potency and nutritional value of cranberries does dull slightly when they are not fresh. Therefore, with the cranberry season coming up fast, we thought now was the perfect time to tell you all about these little red berries, so you can stock up for Autumn!
Benefits of Cranberries
Packed with vitamin C, cranberries can be great for skin. One benefit of vitamin C is that it contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of skin. Collagen has long been a hot topic in skin care, as it provides firmness and elasticity to your skin. Essentially, it’s a protein that helps your skin to look it’s best. When you get older, your body produces less collagen, which may cause wrinkles. Natural collagen formation can only be a good thing, and will keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.
Cranberries are also packed with antioxidants and antioxidant vitamin C contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. To understand how antioxidants help your body, you have to first understand what they are working against. To make this easier to understand, you can imagine it like a party with your friends. When oxygen enters the body, it splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. So, imagine you’ve entered the party and you, the ‘wingman’ (the atom), are trying to find your friend (the electron) a date. Electrons, like your friend, hate being on their own, so they force the atoms they are attached to, to scavenge the body for some electrons that can pair with theirs. In this scenario, your friend is dragging you all over the party to try and find a date. We refer to these atoms as free radicals, and when they go searching the body for electrons to pair with, they can cause cell damage.
Now, imagine you meet someone else at the party who is also ‘wing-manning’ friend. Now you can pair your two friends off and go and enjoy the party. This is what antioxidants do – they provide electrons that the free radical electrons can pair with. This then neutralises the free radical atoms and stops them causing damage. Essentially, antioxidants protect cells (including skin cells) from damage.
In addition to their benefits for skin, cranberries can provide lots of benefits to the body. For instance, just 100g of raw cranberries provides 18% of your recommended daily intake of dietary fibre. Our bodies need fibre to prevent constipation and to keep our digestive system healthy and moving. Keep in mind though, that products made from cranberries are less likely to have this amount of fibre in than the raw berries. For example, cranberry juice would likely have much less fibre as the action of juicing often removes fibre from the final product.
Cranberries also contain several minerals and vitamins that help maintain your bones. While vitamin C contributes to collagen formation for the regular function of bones and cartilage, manganese and vitamin K contribute to the maintenance of normal bones. In addition, there are many several reasons why cranberries can be beneficial to your blood and blood vessels. They contain vitamin K which contributes to normal blood clotting as well as vitamin c which contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of blood vessels. And if that wasn’t enough, vitamin C also contributes to normal psychological function, so you can keep your mind and your body in top shape.
We’ve mentioned in a previous blog that cranberries are often considered a superfood, and with these many benefits, it’s not hard to see why. They can help to keep your skin, mind and body happy and healthy, and there’s few things more important than that.
What do you think is the most important benefit these little red berries give us?