The cranberry, as its name implies, is a fruit belonging to the berry family, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, among others. It is highly cultivated in the United States and Canada, and popular with young and old alike for the many attractive ways in which it can be consumed. It is sold in supermarkets as juice, jam, jelly, dried or fresh fruit, and is also found in easy- to-take capsule form. The positive effects of cranberry as an antioxidant are well known and linked to its high flavonoid and vitamins A, B, C content.
Its ability to prevent further growth of bacteria has been demonstrated in numerous studies and is recognized in treatment as a natural adjuvant for infections of the urinary tract. Another evident function of this berry is its capacity to prevent gastritis caused by the digestive disorder known as “helicobacter pylori.” But a new and never before discovered purpose is its ability to regulate glycemia in type 2 diabetes.
In 2009, a small but very revealing study was published, incorporating the use of various forms of cranberry in the diet of a group of people with type 2 diabetes. The study was published in the magazine “American Federation of Experimental Biology”. It demonstrated that taking 1/4 cup of dried cranberries, low in sugar and high in fiber, was associated with a response of insulin production that was healthier than in a case where the same fruit was consumed in its natural, lightly sugared form.
The explanation for this response is linked to the lower concentration of sugar and a higher amount of fiber. This is an ideal combination for achieving a lower glycemic count and, as a result, a dramatically lower pancreatic response, after consuming the fruit in question.
It is important to emphasize that although cranberry juice is very popular for the relief of many ailments in natural medicine, in the case of diabetes 2, it is not the most recommended form. The reason is that the majority of juices contain 27% to 37% of the concentrated fruit and the rest is diluted with other ingredients which often include different forms of sugar. Because of this, in the case of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who want to obtain the benefits of cranberry in controlling their glycemic levels, the recommended form would be natural juice or extract, sweetened with a natural alternative sweetener like stevia. Better yet, it can simply be taken in capsules.
The dosage in both of these cases would be as follows: 1/3 cup of natural juice or extract daily or 4 to 6 capsules daily, should you prefer the natural fruit supplements.
Lastly, for the youngsters, I recommend preparing a jam, made by heating the berries with a little water and orange juice and a bit of fresh or powdered ginger. Stir constantly until reaching the desired consistency and add a little stevia to sweeten. You will have a delicious jam for the more pampered members of the household!