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Holiday Diet Tips is an online information portal and community committed to helping you enjoy the holiday season without the added guilt--or pounds.

Ingredient Spotlight: Cranberry

Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Cranberries

The editors at Inmammaskitchen.com have compiled a comprehensive and interesting read on the health benefits, history, and frequently asked questions regarding cranberries. The complete article can be found here, a excerpt of the information is below.
  • Proanthocyanidins, also called tannins, prevent bacteria (including Escherichia coli) from adhering to the urinary tract. We have long used cranberries as a cure for urinary tract infections. This also protects the cranberry itself and my have evolved to prevent it in the damp climate in which it lives.
  • The major flavonoids in freshly squeezed cranberry juice are quercetin and myricetin.
  • Quercetin is found to be the most active of the flavonoids in studies. Quercetin has anti-inflammatory activity because it inhibits some of the process of inflammation at the onset. It is used as a preservative in prepared foods today and has iron-binding properties.
  • Myricetin is a flavonoid (pigment) and is considered an antioxidant. Fighting free radicals, it is thought to have anti-cancer properties, including the ability to lower the chances of prostate cancer. Myricetin may also lower cholesterol levels.
  • Oxalates. Cranberries' are high in oxalates, which can rob the body of calcium and can be a cause of kidney stones. Research suggests that the oxalates are not highly bioavailable which means that they are not readily absorbed. This topic is under debate and one should err on the side of caution.
  • Terpenes create the spicy scent and combined with other phenolic compounds give it its tart, astringent taste.
  • Pectin - Cranberries are rich in pectins, also found in apples, and is the reason why it can quickly become a sauce.
  • Fresh cranberries are a seasonal treat that should be enjoyed--both for their taste and health benefits. To reap the health benefits of cranberries year around, and to avoid the nasty implications of urinary tract infections, consider supplementing with cranberry extract. Cranberry extract is a more economical, less sugary approach to consuming cranberries than drinking drinking the juice or eating the fresh berries--plus it is available year around.

Cranberry Recipes

Interested in reaping the numerous health benefits discussed above, but do not know where to start. The URL below has plenty of hearty and delicious recipes where cranberries take center stage.


Cranberry Nutrition Facts
(1 cup whole)

Serving Size

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber

Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 1% Iron 1%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Ingredient Spotlight: Pumpkin

Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin is very rich in carotenoids, which is known for keeping the immune system of an individual strong and healthy.
  • Beta-carotene, found in pumpkin, is a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. It helps prevent build up of cholesterol on the arterial walls, thus reducing chances of strokes.
  • Being rich in alpha-carotene, pumpkin is believed to slow the process of aging and also prevent cataract formation.
  • Pumpkins have been known to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness.
  • The high amount of fiber, present in a pumpkin, is good for the bowel health of an individual.
  • Being loaded with potassium, pumpkin is associated with lowering the risk of hypertension.
  • The presence of zinc in pumpkins boosts the immune system and also improves the bone density.
Health & Nutrition Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
  • Long before we knew them as pumpkin seeds, Native American civilizations referred to these nutrient dense seeds as Cucurbita. As a natural source of essential fatty acids, protein, amino acids and trace minerals, pumpkin seeds were one of our nation's first perfect foods.
  • Promote overall prostate health, apart from alleviating the problem of difficult urination that is associated with an enlarged prostate.
  • Comprise of L-tryptophan, a compound that has been found to be effective against depression.
  • Are believed to serve as a natural protector against osteoporosis.
  • Have been known to reduce inflammation, without causing the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Studies have revealed that they help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.
  • Being rich in phytosterols, they have been associated with reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol.
Unfortunately pumpkins are not available year around. To benefit from the immense health benefits derived from the pumpkin, try pumpkin seed oil soft gels. All the health benefits of eating pumpkin, non of the hassle of cutting, cleaning, and de-seeding.

Pumpkin Recipes

Interested in reaping the numerous health benefits discussed above, but do not know where to start. The URL below has plenty of hearty and delicious recipes where pumpkin takes center stage.


Pumpkin Nutrition Facts
(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)

Calories 49
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg