This antioxidant-rich and healthy cranberry compote deserves a place at the table year-round. Because cranberries bring a lot more to the table than just tradition and a dash of ruby-red. That favorite holiday condiment is actually a potent anti-microbial. In fact, cranberries could help keep you feeling festive all year-round.
Originally, researchers attributed the protective effect of cranberries to their acidity. This has long since been disproved. We now know that cranberry’s anti-microbial properties are due its high levels of a chemical compound called proanthocyanidins (PACs).
In plants, PACs provide protection against pathogens and predators. In humans, a unique structure of the PACs in cranberries essentially renders whatever bacteria it comes in contact with a non-stick surface. So, cranberry’s PACs help prevent an overall bacterial invasion that can result in an outright infection. If bacteria can’t stick to our cell walls —it can’t infect. And, if it does stick, it will have less chance of spreading.
Research shows that the PACs in cranberries inhibit bacteria (especially E. coli) from sticking to bladder walls, reducing urinary tract infections and may help prevent ulcers by suppressing H. Pylori infections. They may also prevent cavities by inhibiting unhealthy oral bacteria. This same non-stick ability may also lower the risk of atherosclerosis by inhibiting platelet aggregation and adhesion and by reducing cholesterol. Clearly, cranberries have a place on the table the other ten months of the year!
HEALTHY CRANBERRY COMPOTE
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
This quick, easy and healthy cranberry compote recipe uses fresh cranberries, rather than canned. Citrus, apple, pomegranate and cinnamon create a much more interesting and healthful flavor profile than a bunch of sugar ever could. This sauce is only slightly sweet, providing a nice contrast to the overall richness of holiday dinners.
- 2 12 ounce bags of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)
- Juice and zest (reserved) of 2 organic oranges
- 2 organic red apples, cored and coarsely chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or raw honey) or to taste
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot (optional)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
- Place cranberries, pineapple, apples, cinnamon stick in a sauce pan.
- Combine the water and arrowroot, blending well to make a slurry, then add to the cranberry mixture.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to medium heat. Stir constantly until the cranberries start to burst (about 10-15 minutes) and the mixture is thick and smooth.
- Cool completely, adjust sweetener as needed, then mix in the pomegranate seeds.
- Garnish with orange zest before serving.
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Carter, Jean. Food Your Miracle Medicine. New York: Harper Collins, 1993.