Get ’em while you can. For a limited time, you can buy a pound of berries for just $1.00-1.50 at your local market. For anyone who’s familiar with berry prices, this is a STEAL. And,right now, it’s the price of a SuperFood berry often reserved for the Holidays – the cranberry.
While they may be considered a Holiday food, there’s no reason to only enjoy them for a few weeks per year. Cranberries hold nutrients that can greatly benefit an athlete. So, stock up now, freeze, and enjoy them year-round. This week, I’ve got an Easy Whole-Berry Chia-Cranberry Jam that’s low in sugar, high in fiber, and a Powerhouse in nutrition goodness.
Use it to top plain yogurt, waffles, match with nut butters, as a pre-training or recovery snack and more!
Recipe of the week: Quick, Easy, Whole-Berry Chia-Cranberry Jam
- 1 lb cranberries
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup organic honey, agave, or maple
- Bring water to boil on stove top.
- Add cranberries. Once boiling again, reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cranberries pop open.
- Allow to cool slightly for 5 min ~ 64 oz.(~2 L) water in a large pot. Reduce to simmer. Add honey and chia seeds, stir well.
- Pour into jars, and allow to cool in refrigerator for 12-24 hours to thicken.
- Makes about 5 cups. Store in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Use to top yogurt, waffles and more! Or, use it as a jam spread for a healthy PB & J sandwich.
Pre-Training and During Training Options: Like a gel, simply eat 1/4 cup Cranberry Chia jam 15-30 minutes before training or during training. Add 1/12 tsp salt to add 200 mg sodium.
Recovery Option: Organic Plain yogurt (original or Greek) topped with 3-4 Tbsp. Cranberry Chia Jam and 1 tsp. l-glutamine (~4-5 grams) is a GREAT recovery.
Nutrition info for Chia Jam (1 Tbsp.): 27 calories, 4.6 grams carbs, 3 grams sugar, 1.2 grams fiber, 0.6 grams protein
Nutrition info, regular commercial cranberry jam (1 Tbsp.): 60 calories, 15 grams carbs, 15 grams sugar 0 grams fiber, 0 grams protein
Cranberries may be a bit tart, but they are sweet for health. Although you usually won’t eat them raw, they well worth the preparation and packed with nutrients. Like any berry or whole food that’s naturally vibrant in color, you can bet that beneficial antioxidants are responsible for its hue. Not only pretty to look at, these antioxidants perform a variety of healthful functions in our bodies to promote health and wellness. Here’s how whole cranberries, and our cranberry jam, support an athlete’s health:
- Cardiovascular Health: Whole cranberries protect the cardiovascular system and the liver, and much more significantly than cranberry juice or extracts. In fact, they can help the body reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure, making the arteries less stiff. As far as whole berry vs. extract, the same is true regarding most all cranberry benefits: Whole is better than part.
- Urinary Tract Health: Cranberry’s specific antioxidants, the proanthocyanidins (PACs), are related to prevention of UTIs. The unique structure of PACs act as a barrier to bacteria that might otherwise latch on to the urinary tract lining. What’s more, cranberries may offer anti-bacterial protection to other parts of the body as well. For example, cranberries may also reduce the formation and potency of another bacteria (Helicobacter pylori) that cause stomach ulcers.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties and Oxidative Stress Reduction: The anthocyanin content of cranberries (the phytonutrients that give the berries their amazing red color) is increased as more natural sunlight strikes the berry during its growth. Since cranberries are allowed to float in water during harvest, the sunlight exposure is increased more than other berries. This saturation of phytonutrients provide us with stronger health benefits. They reduce oxidative stress in our bodies and discourage inflammation and the production of inflammatory hormones.
- Anti-Cancer Potential: Cranberries are potentially a strong anti-cancer food. Specifically, they block expression of MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases); inhibit ODC (ornithine decarboxylase enzymes); stimulate QRs (quinone reductase enzymes); inhibit CYP2C9s (Phase I detoxification enzymes); and trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) in tumor cells. These actions all work together to help prevent cancer and cause cancer cell death specifically for cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and prostate.
Want ’em raw? Try adding them to a smoothie – this will break down the tough outer shell without changing them nutritionally.
In my experience, cardiovascular health, reduced inflammation, reduced oxidative stress, and overall whole-body wellness are good for athletes. While most Holiday foods are loaded with more sugar than nutrients, look to our Whole-Berry Chia-Cranberry Jam as a Holiday Nutrient Powerhouse. Even better, buy ’em in bulk now, and enjoy cranberries and all their benefits year round.
Give your body what it needs everyday and during training with the right Foods, Drinks and Supplements. If you would like my help with it, I offer comprehensive plans as Instant Downloads and as Custom Clients starting at just $20. And, as a FuelRightBlog reader, get a further discount with coupon code: password-frblog username-reader. I’d love to work with you!
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