Cranberries are rich in health-promoting antioxidants, protective molecules that can prevent or slow damage to our cells. As the “good guys”, antioxidants can inactivate free radicals so that they cannot cause cellular damage. (Atoms that have been exposed to oxygen will “break” and end up with unpaired electrons; this creates unstable molecules, called “free radicals” that can damage DNA and lead to chronic diseases, like heart disease cancer and dementia).
Perhaps best known as a natural aid for urinary tract infection (UTIs), cranberries also offer many important anti-inflammatory benefits for our cardiovascular system and digestive system (mouth, gums, stomach and colon), attributable to its phytonutrients, including anthocyanins (the pigments that give cranberries their deep red color), proanthocyanidins (PACs) and flavonols like quercetin and phenolic acid.
If you don’t have digestive issues, you will derive maximum nutritional benefits from cranberries when you eat them raw (versus cooked or canned), including digestion-aiding enzymes.
This easy-to-make raw relish effectively tempers cranberries’ inherent tartness with just enough natural sweetness.
Raw Cranberry Relish
2 cups fresh organic cranberries, well rinsed
(or 1 I6-oz bag frozen, unsweetened cranberries, thawed and rinsed)
1 large naval orange, peeled and seeded; each section cut into thirds
2 teaspoons orange zest
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons raw honey or coconut nectar
1. Blend all ingredients in food processor until it forms a juicy relish.
2. Transfer to serving dish and serve at room temperature.