shutterstock_286279952No idea what to put in your next morning smoothie? We have just the ingredient, which happens to be a powerful (but small) superfood: cranberries. Next time you’re at the store, we highly recommend you pick some up.

1. They Boost Your Gastrointestinal Health 

Your gut can thank xyloglucans, which are sugars found in cranberries. These sugars are necessary for our intestinal health, as they are taken and used by bacteria found in the gut to help prevent infections and give us energy from foods we eat.

2. They’re Good For Your Heart 

In a study conducted at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, participants who were given two glasses of cranberry juice per day for 8 weeks had a lower risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease and related risk factors.

3. They Fight Against Dental Plaque 

Dental plaque is caused by poor hygiene. Uh, gross! But don’t fret if you’ve been lazy on brushing and flossing- cranberries stop the enzymes that work to build plaque on your teeth.

4. They Keep Your Mind Alert 

A study showed cranberries contain urcolic acid, which helps brain cells remain healthy and functioning.

5. They Have Anti-Cancer Properties 

Praise the antioxidant gods. According to NutritionFacts.org, cranberries help fight various forms of cancer, such as prostate, colon or brain cancer, by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells.

And now, for some cranberry smoothie inspo:

Berry Cranberry Smoothie (Photo by Sarah Bakes Gluten    Free)

Serves 2 (Recipe from sarahbakesgfree.com)

  • 1 cup frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup cranberry or pomegranate juice (no sugar added)
cranberry-smoothie

Fresh Cranberry Smoothie (Photo by Yummy Mummy Kitchen)

Serves 1-2 (Recipe from yummymummykitchen.com)

  • 1 large orange, peeled
  • 1/3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (strawberries, rasberries)
  • 1 peeled and sliced frozen banana
cranberry-orange-chocolate-smoothie-recipe

Cranberry-Orange-Chocolate Smoothie (Jennifer Causey: Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Pop Styling: Mindi Shapiro)

Serves 4 (Recipe from health.com)

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs

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