If you’ve never put cranberries in a smoothie before, get ready to be surprised. For me, it was a revelation, a whole new juicy world: bright, sweet, tart, and filled with delightfully astringent refreshment. I use the term ‘smoothie’ loosely here, for, in truth, this is more of a whole-fruit juice, pink and puckery.
Fresh cranberries are high in iodine (see note), which can be a good and a bad thing for the thyroid, so this may not be the beverage to drink every single day. But when cold and flu season rolls around, nothing feels better on a sore and scratchy throat. That’s when I blend up this Cranberry Zinger, for it seems to give me a needed immune boost.
Cranberries also have high levels of phytochemicals, which aid in neutralizing the free-radicals that contribute to cancer and heart disease, as well as clearing the bacteria that causes most UTIs (E. coli) from your urinary tract. Cooking or otherwise processing cranberries (like dried cranberries) destroys or significantly reduces, those amazing phytochemicals, so blending them up is one way you can get their full nutritional effect.
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- The phytochemicals found in cranberries aid in reducing inflammation sometimes caused by thyroid conditions.
- Raw cranberries are a very good source of dietary fiber, and have an estimated glycemic load of 2 out of 250, making them a good choice for weight loss.
- Cranberries are a natural source of iodine (see note). The thyroid gland depends on iodine to produce thyroid hormone, but both too much and too little can cause thyroid problems such as goiter, or an increased autoimmune response. Iodine can also be problematic in the case of a selenium deficiency.
- Ginger aids in relieving both the inflammation and the sensitivity to cold sometimes caused by thyroid disease.
*A note on iodine: According to holistic nutritionist Adrienne Klein, thyroid patients should not be on an iodine supplement unless directed and supervised by a qualified physician. She adds that supplementing with iodine is a different beast than dietary iodine since most of the iodine we get from food that is not utilized by the thyroid gets excreted through urine. The recommended daily allowance for iodine in an adult is 150 mcg, with an upper limit of 1100 mcg iodine consumption through food.