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With Thanksgiving and turkey festivities approaching, the inevitable companion - cranberry sauce - makes its annual comeback. With a bundle of exciting health benefits, these vibrantly red berries shouldn’t be eaten just once a year.
3 Health Reasons To Eat Cranberries All Year Round 
1. UTI Fighter
The most famous cranberries benefit has to be fighting a urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections usually occur when bacteria attach themselves to the bladder and the urethra wall. How do cranberries fight a UTI? A group of tannins, specifically proanthocyanidins (plant-based bitter polyphenol) in cranberries, have the ability to change the shape and membranes of bacteria, making them difficult to latch onto any parts of the urinary tract. A study found that these beneficial tannins from a serving of cranberry juice can reach the urinary tract within 8 hours!
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2. A Superfood due to its Unique Harvesting Practice
Being red, cranberries contain similar beneficial nutrients found in other red-colored fruits. For instance, anthocyanins, a unique antioxidant found in red fruits, are abundantly found in cranberries. Indeed, cranberries rank 6th on the USDA’s top 20 list of high-antioxidant foods. Part of the reason for such nutritional superiority is due to the fact that cranberries are harvested in water.
When it comes to harvest time around October, cranberry producers will flood the bog with water. With four air chambers inside, cranberries simply float on water, making them easy to collect. As they float, most of them are exposed to sunlight. Sunlight exposure is a pathway to make antioxidants in plants. Therefore, cranberries’ unique harvesting practice assist them in achieving a superfood status! A diet high in antioxidants may be beneficial in preventing cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
3. Good Cholesterol Booster 
As we constantly talk about cholesterol lowering, the second part of the story is to boost the good HDL cholesterol. A study in 2006 found that a daily serving of unsweetened cranberry juice for 12 weeks helped abdominally obese men boost their good HDL cholesterol by at least 10%!
Common Cranberry Products 
Frozen Cranberry
These are available all year round. You can make your own homemade cranberry sauce using frozen cranberries. Simply simmer 2 cups of frozen cranberries, ½ cup of raw sugar, and ½ cup of orange juice for 5 minutes.
Dried Cranberry
Deep red in color, dried cranberries are an excellent addition to add chewy texture and tart taste to a salad or homemade granola bars.
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Cranberry Juice
Also known as a cranberry cocktail. As cranberries are tart in taste, sugar is often added. Choose a product with the least amount of sugar if possible.
Canned Cranberry
Canned cranberry sauce and jellied cranberry are the most common products shoppers buy during Thanksgiving.
Fresh Cranberry
You may come across them occasionally, however fresh cranberries are not prevalent in Hong Kong. As fresh cranberries are relatively tart and bitter, they are best used in recipes, or as dessert toppings.
Written by Canadian Registered Dietitian Gloria Tsang Yan Yan