Friday, February 3, 2012

Cranberries and Health

What happened to my few days off?  I was seriously looking forward a little rest and relaxation and then my email practically blew up with questions about green smoothies. I am very happy that people consider me to be a good resource but on the other hand I really needed the rest which I finally got on Thursday.  *woo hoo*  ;-)

We had the most gorgeous weather on Wednesday, with temperatures that reached 71. What kind of spring are we having?  This is the craziest weather but definitely crazy in a good way.  I loved being able to spend some time outside and having the windows open on Wednesday.  It was too bad that I didn’t have time to get to the boat because it was the perfect weather for it. Based on the winter we have been having I know another gorgeous unseasonably warm day will be here again very soon.

Thursday I decided to head to the boat even though it was cooler than Wednesday it ended up being a nice day and our temperatures even managed to reach 59 which was fantastic for this time of year.   I took a few pictures while I was at the marina to share with you.

This is precious little Peyton who might be the sweetest dog I ever met.  He is a Whoodle (a Wheaton terrier and poodle) and is very smart and lovable.  There is nothing like being greeted by puppy kisses and a wagging tail to make you feel loved.  I love that animals are so honest; you know when they like and/or trust you and when they don’t.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if people were this honest?

This is a shot across the harbor looking east toward Canton.  Don’t you love the fluffy clouds in the sky? This doesn’t look like a shot from the beginning of February does it?

I took this photo to show you the boats covered for winter.

This is one of the trees downtown almost ready to open up on February 2nd.  This winter we have had such mild weather all the plants  are starting to think spring is here.  I hope the plants are better at predicting weather than the ground hog in Pennsylvania.  ;-)

Urinary Tract Infections:

One topic that came up when I was at the marina chatting was urinary tract infections (UTI).  I do have all the fun don’t I?  ;-)  One of the ladies was having symptoms of a UTI and knew to start drinking cranberry juice and by the time she got the doctor there was no sign of infection which the “professionals” credited to the cranberry juice. Another friend of mine had a very serious UTI that resulted her being in the hospital for days.  Since that hospital stay my friend has been drinking 4 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice every morning as a preventative measure and it seems to be working since she has had no further difficulties with UTIs years later.  I haven’t had a UTI but they are common and apparently once you have had one you are more susceptible to reoccurrence. I think my friends 4 ounces of juice per day approach is a good one. 

If you don’t like straight cranberry juice you could cut it with sparkling water or add a splash to your green tea.  I also enjoy cranberry juice with pear, orange or mint.  WebMD backs up the validity of using cranberry juice to treat UTI.  The basics are that cranberries contain proanthocyanidins which inhibit the fimbrial adhesion of the bacteria.  Without the adhesion the bacteria are removed from the body when we urinate.  Since 80%+ of UTI are thought to be caused by E. coli (bacteria) consuming cranberries is a good preventive measure.

Apparently cranberry juice also helps to prevent UTI inchildren. However I will caution you that this study was funded by Ocean Spray so that makes me a little suspect that there may have bias.  However since cranberry isn’t going to hurt anyone in small doses why not give it a try if your child has problems with UTI?

 Other Health Benefits of Cranberries:

Cranberries are good for more than just UTI.  They have also helped people with calcium salt kidney stones prevent recurrence.  Cranberries contain quinic acid which is not broken down in the body and causes the urine to be mildly acidic. This slight acidity reduces calcium and phosphate ions from forming stones.   Most kidney stones (approximately 75%+) are the calcium salt variety so cranberry is probably a good idea if you have had stones.  However if you have a history of kidney stones and they were the type with calcium oxalate then you should avoid cranberries since they contain low levels of oxalate. 

Cranberries high concentration of antioxidants has been shown to reduce atherosclerosis and some cancers.  In terms of total antioxidants cranberries always rank high when compared to other fruit.

I always buy bags when they are fresh and stash them in my freezer for cranberry dressing, cranberry granite and apple, cranberry oatmeal and making cranberry drink.

Cranberry Items to Keep in Mind:

Fresh cranberries have more antioxidants than dried or juice.  Also cranberry juice almost always has added sugar because the berries are so tart so be sure to check the label since some are very high in sugar.

You can make you own “whole fruit” juice by combining cranberries and water in your blender and processing until it is smooth.  I like to add fresh lemon and/or orange to the blender with the berries and water. If that is too tart for you add a little stevia for sweetness.  When I make this whole food juice for myself I generally use:  ½ orange peeled and seeded, ¼ cup frozen cranberries and 1 cup water in the Vitamix.  I don’t make this often because I don’t have any UTI issues. However if you wanted to drink it daily it contains:  63 calories, 15.7 total carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar and 4.8 grams of fiber which is pretty darn good I think. Definitely better for you than the bottled stuff.  ;-)  We have Dr. Greger to thank for the idea of whole food juice. Thanks Dr. G!   What would we do without you?  I am glad that we don't have to find out.

Diet Soda and Heart Health:

I saw this article yesterday and promptly forgot about it since I haven’t had a soda in close to two decades.  However then I realized that some of you may have switched from regular soda to diet years ago and never gave up the habit because you didn’t think it was too bad.  This study showed an increase in heart attacks and strokes for those consuming one diet soda per day.  Just in case you or someone you love drinks diet soda check out this article and pass it along. 

In addition to not being good for arterial health diet soda (and sugared soda) is nothing but man-made flavors, chemicals and sugar (either high fructose or artificial) and none of it is good for your health. I think of it this way. When you ingest something that provides no nutrition (like both diet soda and regular soda) but does contain a lot of stuff that you body has to eliminate (chemicals, etc.) that can’t be good for your health.  You are much better off having something like water, green tea or even juice that you cut with water.  However if you are trying to lose weight please remember that it is always better to consume the whole fruit (with its fiber) than it is to have juice.  One thing people forget about juice is that it is higher in calories and sugar for the same volume of whole fruit.  If you have elevated blood glucose it is also a good idea to keep your juice intake to a minimum and I would suggest zero though I know not everyone is going to do that.

Thursday’s food:

There was nothing terribly exciting about yesterday’s food.  I don’t think that I have to tell you there was plenty of green and white tea with fresh citrus since you know I have that every single day.  ;-)

The morning started with Dan’s favorite green smoothie (kale, frozen banana, frozen cherries, walnuts, cinnamon, cocoa and stevia with enough water to process it).

After exercising I had a banana and a couple of Brazil nuts. 

I had my favorite hummus and veggies for lunch. I really could eat this every day and not get tired of it and that is weird since I don’t have many foods that I can eat over and over again like this.  ;-)  I had broccoli and tomatoes with my hummus for lunch. I try to always combine broccoli and tomatoes since they seem to have a synergistic effect on each other making the sulforaphane and lycopene both better absorbed.  Love that!

I took fresh fruit (a pear and orange) and a one liter bottle of water with me to the marina. Sorry no pictures of this.  ;-)

Dinner was a quick stir fry of onions, mushrooms, and kale that I cooked in a little vegetarian oyster sauce (they really should call it mushroom sauce) and water.  I used a fat tablespoon of the sauce so that we didn’t get too much sodium. I put the stir fry on top of quinoa and finished with sesame seeds with dried ginger.  Good stuff and it was ready very fast. I had the stir fry finished in the time it took to make the quinoa and I was not rushing or in the kitchen the entire time.  I love quick meals like this.

Dan was convinced that he "needed" extra calories so I made him a batch of strawberry banana soft serve. This is a sign that the weather is warming up.  ;-)

Happy Thoughts:

What a good couple of days I have had. They weren’t exactly what I had planned but they were still good.  Here are my happy thoughts:

·         As much as I really wanted to take Wednesday off I enjoyed writing the post on cruciferous veggies and why they are healthiest when they are blended into a smoothie. I hope that I was able to show you why that is true.

·         It was fabulous to have the windows open on February 1st and to get the house aired out. Wow, we are having some kind of fantastic “winter” here.  I could learn to love this “winter thing” every year if they were all like this.

·         Thursday our weather was nicer than predicted and our temperatures almost reached 60 degrees. When I was the marina it was nice enough that we were hanging out on the back deck chatting for a couple of hours and only had on running gear no coat or gloves. Crazy weather right?

·         I feel so much better after my Thursday off.  I knew I needed some time to myself but having the day off on Thursday really proved it to me.  I am probably going to take the weekend off too so that I can continue to recharge.

·         Dan “built” house out of the cardboard boxes for the cats again this week.   Dan loves to do it because the cats think it is greatest thing since cat kibble. However it means that have cardboard boxes sitting around to clean around.  Dan’s latest creation is two pear boxes together with a whole in the center (like a front door and back door) with a blueberry box taped on top like a deck. The lower box is stuffed with tissue paper which the cats think is the bomb. As I am typing this one cat is the tissue paper inside the house and another cat is lounging on the deck. I know I am biased but they are just the cutest little fur kids.  It makes me smile that Dan loves the cats so much to do this for them.  Once the novelty wears off from this box he will break it down for recycling and make them another “new” house.  Cute right?  I can’t help but smile when I see the fur children enjoying their cardboard house.

·         One of the guys at the restaurant texted me yesterday and asked me for suggestions of what to do with kale since he had bought some and was trying to add more variety into his diet. It made me very happy that he asked me for ideas and you know I was happy to help.  I think it is true what they say that all of have an impact on those around us. We may not think we are making a difference but you never know when people are listening.  ;-)

Signing Out:

Are you completely jazzed that today is Friday?  *happy dance*  You know I love my weekends right?  I have no idea what we are doing but I guarantee you we will have fun no matter what we do.  We may try to sneak in a little boat time if weather permits.  Even if we don’t have good wind or temperatures we can go down and start preparations for the upcoming sailing season and that will be fun.  J

I will talk with guys again very soon. At the moment I am planning to take the weekend off to spend more time with my hubby.  However I expect to be back on Monday.  Enjoy your weekend whatever you are doing.  J


  1. Thanks for the info on cranberries & UTI's! As someone who gets them very frequently (actually just got over one :( no fun!!) I know I should be drinking more cranberry juice even when I don't have symptoms! And water - the power of water is always great to flush things out of your system!
    Never knew cranberries were so good for you for other things as well, I'll have to make sure I incorporate it in my daily diet! Thanks!
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Lauren,

      You are very welcome, I am glad the information was helpful. My friend Alexandra had a horrible UTI and after her hospitalization she had been drinking 4 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice and hasn't had another UTI since and that has been at least 4 years. I hope it works as well for you. I agree with you on the water too. Thanks for mentioning that. :-)

      I hope you ahve a great weekend too,

  2. Interesting info Ali. I like the whole food juice - I am going to try that when I get my Vitamix this month (can't wait!).

    1. Possum (N),

      Woo hoo congratulations on the Vitamix! I know that you are going to seriously enjoy it. :-) I loved Dr. G's idea of whole food juice, the man is a genius. Can't wait for you to see how easy it is to make in the Vitamix.

      talk with you later,


Related Posts with Thumbnails