Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccos, or in some treatments, in the distinct genus Oxycoccos. They are found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 2 m long and 5 to 20 cm in height; they have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves.
Healthy, fast weight loss requires good diet nutrition. Remember, there are 22 vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy weight loss. So choose a diet plan that includes foods from all food groups, and offers personal support to lose weight.
Dieting is the practice of ingesting food in a regulated fashion to achieve or maintain a controlled weight. In most cases the goal is weight loss in those who are overweight or obese, but some athletes aspire to gain weight (usually in the form of muscle) and diets can also be used to maintain a stable body weight.
The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. They are pollinated by domestic honey bees. The fruit is an epigynous berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness. Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces (see Cultivation and Uses below).
Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is regarded an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and European winter festivals.
Since the early 21st century within the global functional food industry, there has been a rapidly growing recognition of cranberries for their consumer product popularity, nutrient content and antioxidant qualities, giving them commercial status as a novel superfruit.
Cranberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, phytochemicals under active research for possible benefits to the cardiovascular system, immune system and as anti-cancer agents. Cranberry juice contains a chemical component, a high molecular weight non dializable material (NDM), as noted above, that is able to inhibit and even reverse the formation of plaque by Streptococcus mutans pathogens that cause tooth decay.
Cranberry juice components also show efficacy against formation of kidney stones. Raw cranberries and cranberry juice are abundant food sources of the anthocyanidin flavonoids, cyanidin, peonidin and uercetin.
These compounds have an unknown effect on human health, but are powerful against human cancer cells in vitro. Their effect in humans, however, is unproven, showing poor absorption into human cells and rapid elimination from blood. Nonetheless, since 2002, there has been an increasing focus on the potential role of cranberry polyphenolic constituents in preventing several types of cancer.
Cranberry tannins have anti-clotting properties and may reduce urinary tract infections and the amount of dental plaque-causing oral bacteria, thus being a prophylaxis for gingivitis. There is potential benefit of cranberry juice consumption against bacterial infections in the urinary system.
Research shows that an effect occurs from a component of the juice inhibiting bacterial attachment to the bladder and urethra. Although promising for anti-bacterial activity, long-term consumption of cranberry juice has only limited evidence for beneficial effects against urinary tract infections in women.
Similar applications have not been successfully proved in other clinical trials of consuming cranberry juice or tablets by people with spinal cord injury associated with bladder catheterization, neurogenic bladder or infrequent urination, any of which may be associated with increased susceptibility to bacterial infections.