The ABC’S of Health & Nutrition
By Dr. Joanne T. Gjelsten
One of 3 native fruits originating in North America that were previously unknown elsewhere, along w/blueberry and Concord grape it was named by pilgrims “crane berry” because the flower resembled the Sandhill Crane (bird).
The lst known use of the word “cranberry” was in 1647 by missionary John Eliot who said “please pass the cranberries Sarah” probably at Thanksgiving. The first Americans (native that is) dyed fabrics and, it was said by somebody or other, healed people with cranberries, which we second Americans used to prevent scurvy on long ocean voyages; thank you yet again you first Native people.
The very first successful cultivation of cranberries was done by a Captain Henry Hall in 1810. They were harvested with wooden “scoops” with combs on the ends. You can buy them (the scoops) on E-bay. Well maybe not the one he used, but some rip off of the original. Today thirty six thousand acres of cranberries are collected each year, about half of which are in Wisconsin, a third in Massachusetts, and the rest in New Jersey, Oregon & Washington. (New Jersey??!!). Wisconsin’s cranberry marshes are protected land that is also used for rare and endangered wildlife such as loons, bald eagles, wolves and honest politicians.
Famous for helping to prevent urinary tract infections by keeping bacteria from adhering to the cell wall of bladders out there, cranberries have also been studied for their anticancer, antioxidant, antilithogenic (anti-kidney stone formation) and antiwar properties.
An exciting finding, well I thought so after I found this little piece of information, by a Canadian University Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology found that cranberry “presscake”, the substance left when squeezing the juice out of the berries, “when fed to mice bearing human breast tumor cells, was shown previously to decrease growth and metastasis of cells”. (Mice with human breast tumor cells…geeezz!) As a result, researchers isolated the active flavanoid, an extract (called Fr6) that had anti-tumor activity on 8 cancer cell lines of multiple origins, such as skin, breast, prostate, lung, and brain. The mice said it's nice to now fit into their bras but don't ever try that on them again!
As an antioxidant, 100 grams of cranberry is equivalent, according to one study, to 1000 mg’s of Vit. C in preventing oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, something you don’t want happening in your arteries, Bill.
Another study showed that the proanthocyanidins (A-linked) in cranberries give it its anti-urinary tract infection (UTI) characteristics. B-linked proanthocyanidins, which can be found in chocolate, grapes, and green tea were also tested in the same study. Anti-adhesion activity was found in the A-linked, but only minor activity found in non-cranberry foods (B-Linked), which in English means cranberries were best at keeping your urinary tract free from infection. Another study indicated cranberries may also inhibit some flu viruses.
A caveat: British doctors found that 5 patients who were on WARFARIN, aka Coumadin, a blood thinner, had side effects from drinking cranberry juice. They suspected that the juice increased the potency of the blood thinner. An enzyme (flavanoid) called Cytochrome P450 that breaks down warfarin may be inhibited by cranberry juice. There were only 5, of many, but I thought I’d mention it anyway, as you guys on blood thinners should know this. Ask your Doc.
Of course, we all remember the “cranberry scare” of 1959 (ok not me), when contamination by a weed killer, that was said to cause cancer in rats, was found in some of the shipments of cranberries. So everyone went home and cried because there were no cranberries for Thanksgiving. A couple of “Federal Authorities” at the time decided to eat them anyway and that was the end of that. The scare, and possible them, who knows?
Did you know that you can keep cranberries in your freezer for up to a year before you throw them out? Or you can wash them off and serve them to Aunt Tillie in November of the following year. So eat, and drink, and be Merry, or Mary, with your cranberries!
The National Cancer Institute recommends eating 5 to 9 servings of fruit & vegetables/day. Let’s see, that’s cranberries for breakfast, an apple for mid morning, (poop) a salad for lunch, a fruit mid afternoon, (poop) 3 veggies for dinner, and a fruit for dessert, and oh, uh, poop. What are we up to now, about 8. Ok, someone help me get to 9 here so we don’t get constipooted! Disclaimer: : The products and claims made about specific products in this article have not been evaluated by any regulatory health authority and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided in this article and all articles by Joanne Gjelsten, Doctor of Chiropractor, is for informational purposes only. You should consult with a healthcare professional, your Doctor, before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any or stopping any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. 845 358 2687. Offices in Nyack and Chestnut Ridge. By Appt. www.godrjo.com