Cranberries, what a great food to eat

History of cranberries

Cranberries are native to North America. Long before the first settlers arrived, cranberries grew naturally in bogs. These early settlers called this fruit the CRANEBERRY. The term ATOCA comes from Amerindians, who used cranberries as a food, remedy, and preservation agent.

Cultivating cranberries is fairly recent in Quebec. It first appeared in the 1930s and took off in the 1980s. Before, they had been picked in the wild by Aboriginals. In Quebec, the popularity of cranberries has grown, especially in the Centre-du-Québec region. Quebec currently ranks as the second largest cranberry-producing region in the world.

Cultivating cranberries

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. Fields are irrigated during spring and fall, primarily to protect them from frost, and during the growing season in dry periods. Then, during the harvest season, fields are flooded to facilitate fruit picking. Cranberries have four air-filled chambers enabling them to float. Once the plants are covered in water, a threshing machine removes the cranberries, which are pumped into trucks. Finally, the fields are flooded once more for winter. The ice cover protects cranberries from the cold. The plants cannot sustain prolonged exposure to temperatures below -20°C.

Cranberries, a healthy food

Proanthocyanidins are components specific to cranberries. They have a non-stick effect on bacteria. This phenomenon prevents bacteria from sticking to mucosal walls, hence the use of this fruit in the prevention and reduction of urinary tract infections, and the interest it has generated in the field of oral health and in the treatment of stomach ulcers. This antibacterial property also helps reduce dental plaque.

Several studies have been conducted on the health effects of the bioactive compounds found in cranberries. These antioxidants have a positive impact on heart health and play a role in fighting cancer.

The health benefits are numerous. Cranberries are known for their antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. According to studies, eating cranberries may be a good way to help prevent urinary tract infections, slow the development of cariogenic dental plaque, and increase good cholesterol, which benefits cardiovascular health.

Health Canada recommends that people who take Coumadin (Warfarin) or other blood thinners limit their consumption of cranberry juice. This food product can interfere with the drug’s blood-thinning agent, which could lead to internal bleeding. This should be discussed with your doctor.