It’s cool if you’re into açai bowls or obsessed with chia seed pudding. It seems like every year there’s a new trendy superfood, discovered in some remote locale, that everyone wants to try. But everyday ingredients can offer great health benefits, too! There’s one that might already be hiding in your cupboard: The humble cranberry.
Old fashioned and all American, cranberries could be the original super berry. That deep red color indicates high antioxidant levels, with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which may protect your heart and ward of certain infections. Plus, cranberries happen to be in season, and they’re extra festive this time of year.
Unfortunately, cranberry often gets sugared up. A serving of canned jelly can contain a whopping 24 g sugar, and a cocktail mixer is likely to have around 28 g sugar per cup, pretty much maxing out the daily recommendation—you might want to leave that Cosmo in the 90s. Which means, you’re going to have to embrace the tart, natural flavor.
Here are five delicious ways to maximize the health benefits and enjoy these vibrant berries—beyond a turkey dinner.
1. Slice or halve fresh cranberries and toss them in salads. The raw or frozen fruit offers the most benefits, and the tart flavor nicely punctuates mixed fruit, a bowl of greens, or a chicken salad made with yogurt instead of mayo.
2. Roast cranberries with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. A little heat tames and sweetens the berries. Once they start to collapse, use them as a jammy topping for lean steak, pork, or chicken.
3. Simmer cranberries in oatmeal for the last few minutes of cooking, until they start to pop. You can throw in chopped apple at the same time, if you like. Add a pinch of cinnamon, and it’s almost as good as pie for breakfast.
4. Blend unsweetened cranberry juice in a smoothie, balanced with whole fruit for natural sweetness, such as banana and raspberries. Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt for protein.
5. Toss dried cranberries in your granola. Dried fruit is high in sugar and calories, but if you stick to a small amount, cranberries still offer good fiber and antioxidants. Make sure to grab a bag that doesn’t have any extra sugar added, and throw the chewy fruit into your favorite nut-and-seed granola, before sprinkling over yogurt.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.