by Melissa Chichester
This beneficial berry is related to the blueberry, bilberry, and lingonberry. Because cranberries are so bitter and sour, they are typically used in cranberry-based powders, sauces, and especially juice, so it is necessary to watch out for sugar. One way to avoid added sugar in cranberry products is to take a once daily cranberry supplement, something both men and women can benefit from.
Cranberries were first used by an Algonquin tribe in New England for dyes and food, especially pemmican, a fat-based, high energy food. Native Americans also used cranberries for bladder health and other wellness practices.
Beginning in 1550, cranberries were documented by several explorers throughout the Eastern United States.
In 1667, King Charles II was sent cranberries from New England and just two years later, the first cranberry sauce was documented as Captain Richard Cobb served it alongside turkey to celebrate his marriage. Into the 1670s, the further recording of cranberry use began in cooking guides and books. Cranberry cultivation spread throughout the East and by 1900, 21,500 acres of cranberries had been harvested in New England. Today, Wisconsin is the largest producer of cranberries in the United States, and cranberries are farmed on over 40,000 acres throughout the country.
Raw cranberries have more nutritional value than cranberry juice and dried cranberries.
Comprised mostly of water and carbohydrates, cranberries also contain valuable vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, essential mineral manganese, and magnesium.
Cranberries also contain beneficial plant polyphenols, antioxidants, and fiber, but cranberry juice is not as nutritious as the actual berries due to the sugar that is usually added.
Many people associate cranberries as being beneficial for women, but both men and women have reasons to pay attention to this herbal helper. Overall, cranberry is known to nutritionally support urinary tract function in both men and women.**. The urinary system works hard to flush waste from the body and maintain water balance. Cranberries help cleanse the urinary tract, helping remove unwanted compounds to clear the way for healthy urine flow.** In turn, this also maintains bladder health.** Cranberries also contain antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body, something that men and women can both use.**