Kristi Whitley

Healthy Living


Bladder Armor or Tree Garland?

Thanksgiving kicks off cranberry season. Nothing can divide a family at the

Thanksgiving table like the love/hate of cranberry “sauce”.

(This gelatinous canned blob gives “sauce” a bad name.)


When I was on the “dark side”, I deviated from my family by using canned

“whole cranberry sauce” because I liked the chunks. Now I make a fresh

cranberry relish that is sweet, tangy and loaded with vitamin C. Read on for more recipes

and reasons to enjoy some cranberries this season.

Urinary Tract Defensive Shield

It’s pretty common knowledge that cranberries can prevent urinary tract infections but who knows how? Recent research has given evidence that it is not antiseptic properties of cranberries but rather the proanthocyanidins that provide a barrier, which prevents bacteria from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract. This research gives hope in using cranberries to help prevent and cure other diseases that are caused by bacteria, such as stomach ulcers.

Beauty Through and Through

These beautiful red berries have multiple health benefits. One cup provides 24% DV of vitamin C. Vitamin C is the most abundant anti-oxidant. It is denatured and rendered impotent in high temperatures so eat your cranberries as close to raw as possible. Cranberries also have 20% DV of manganese. Manganese is a trace mineral important in the production of collagen. Collagen is a structural component of skin and connective tissues.

Whole Food is Best

According to, cranberries contain an impressive list of phytonutrients including phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and triterpenoids. All of which have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. However, none of the individual nutrients have performed as well as whole fruit.

Also noted by, the most commonly consumed form of cranberry is the juice, which is typically bottled with generous amounts of sugar. The skins and fiber left behind after juicing contain the bulk of cranberries’ nutrition. Whole cranberries are best.

Think Red, Think Heart

Following closely behind urinary tract benefits, cardiovascular benefits of cranberries have been widely studied. Researchers believe that the cardiovascular benefits of cranberries are credited to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients.

Say Cheese!

Cranberries have also been shown to reduce periodontal disease and decrease risk of colon cancer.

Tree Trimming in Waders

As for using these beautiful berries for tree garland, I guess you would have to live in the northeast next door to the cranberry bog in order to afford enough of them to string together a garland. Yes, they are harvested, not grown, in a bog. Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in a field or bog with a dirt mound around it. When it is time to harvest the berries the field is flooded so the berries float off the vines and to the top of the water where they can be scooped up. One study I read said that the sunlight hitting the berries on top of the water actually increases their nutrient content. Woohoo!

Get ‘Em While You Can

 Cranberry season is October through December so hurry and get some fresh ones. I stock up this time of year and put the whole bag in the freezer. Please buy only organic berries. They are riddled with pesticides when not grow organically. Also, buy organic dried, sweetened cranberries. Fresh, frozen and dried are all considered better nutrition than juice alone.

Raw Cranberry Relish