What can be dished up tart or sweet and melds with turkey and trail mix as easily as bread and sauces? Cranberries. And they're so good for you, why limit them to holiday fare? Here are five reasons to eat them year-round:

They're antioxidant all-stars.
Cranberries have more of these disease-fighters than do apples, red grapes, strawberries, oranges, bananas, pears, grapefruit, pineapples and peaches! And the antioxidant roster includes powerful resveratrol, the heart protector in red wine, which is now being tested against breast, skin, prostate and liver cancer.

They keep your ticker, well, ticking.
Cranberries pack a triple whammy: They're chock-full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and anticlotting agents, a combo that helps prevent fats and cholesterol from sticking to artery walls and seems to lower bad LDL cholesterol and boost good HDL cholesterol.

They protect your pearly whites.
Compounds in cranberry juice appear to reduce decay-causing mouth bacteria and dissolve clusters of unhealthy germs. Just be sure to buy sugar-free juice or rinse well with water afterward. Do the same with any sweetened drink.

They ward off ulcers and upset tummies.
Cranberry compounds and bad bacteria loathe each other, which is a good thing. Scientists suspect that the berries keep ulcer-causing H. pylori bugs from hanging around the stomach and flush other harmful bacteria out of your digestive system.

They fight infections "down there."
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are responsible for 8.3 million doctor visits each year. That's a lot of waiting-room discomfort. But drinking cranberry juice significantly cuts the rate of UTIs and may even cure those that are already under way. The antioxidants—in this case proanthocyanidins—keep the pesky bacteria at bay.

No wonder these merry berries have become must-adds for health-conscious, age-fighting home cooks. Getting the right amount of antioxidants through diet or supplements can make your RealAge as much as six years younger.

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