Millions of people struggle with weight loss every year. And while there seems to be a never-ending stream of fad diets or the latest weight loss drug being marketed, cranberries can provide a very simple alternative to aid weight loss that are healthy and all-natural.
Cranberries come from a dwarf shrub evergreen plant. They can be found in cooler parts of the world. In the United States they can be found in parts of New England, Oregon, Washington and other states. In Canada they are also known as moss berries. A large commercial crop, cranberries were first used by Native Americans for a variety of purposes including food, medicinal uses and dye.
How Cranberries Aid Weight Loss
Studies concerning cranberries and weight loss have shown that cranberries are loaded with certain types of organic acids that researchers believe are useful in dissolving fat deposits. This is an important element in weight loss because fat deposits settle in the body and are hard to get rid of.
Once the fat deposits are broken up, drinking cranberry juice and plenty of water can wash away the fat, helping you to lose weight naturally and safely. Some studies also suggest that the enzymes in cranberries can aid metabolism which can also boost weight loss.
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The effects that cranberries can have on weight loss was a topic of interest at a Canadian cardiovascular conference where researchers revealed a study about weight loss and cranberries ability to aid in lowering cholesterol.
Other Health Benefits
Cranberries have health benefits other than aiding weight loss. They have long been used to maintain urinary-tract health and fighting urinary-tract infections. The National Kidney Foundation recommends cranberries and states that "studies have shown that drinking 10 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail every day may help reduce the chance of developing UTIs." They further add that cranberries may prevent bacteria from adhering to the wall of the urinary tract.
Additionally, cranberries are high in antioxidants that help to fight free radicals in the body that can cause cancer. Cranberries are also being studied for their ability to to prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol by improving the good cholesterol and lowering the bad. New research on cranberries looks at the ability to prevent stomach ulcers, improve dental health and their possible connection in fighting the signs of aging.
How to Use Cranberries
The weight loss and health benefits of cranberries can be obtained in a couple of different ways. Natural cranberry juice is perhaps one the best ways to get the benefits of cranberries, as it is gives you more of the healthy vitamins and nutrients plus the increased liquid intake. However, many suggest drinking fresh cranberry juice, as some of the benefits can be lost during the pasteurization process--and some juices add extra sugar. Other alternatives include eating fresh cranberries and taking cranberry supplements. These are available over the counter where most vitamins are sold.
For Further Reading
The Cranberry Institute features a regular newsletter to keep you informed of the latest research. Visit its site at cranberryinstitute.org
There is also valuable information on various studies regarding the health benefits of cranberries at the following links:
Niki Fears has been a writer and editor for more than four years and has written for a number of major sites. She specializes in natural health, nutrition, herbalism, environment, religion and spirituality, traditional medicine, culture, folklore and myth, and alternative news.