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The festive winter fruit may help fight cancer, improve cholesterol levels, even combat cavities.

Feeling bogged down in the kitchen? Jump-start meals with a handful of tart, bright cranberries. This tangy treat is not only naturally low in fat but also bursting with powerful nutrients. One cup of whole fresh berries has 81 grams of potassium, 12.6 milligrams of vitamin C (20% daily value), and 34 micrograms of beta carotene -- for just 44 calories. The festive winter fruit is rich in antioxidants, which may help fight cancer and improve cholesterol levels. Plus it may also help combat dental cavities. A recent study found that a leading bacterium responsible for tooth decay was weakened when exposed to two cranberry antioxidants. Fresh cranberries, at their peak October through December, can be stored in your fridge for several months, so stock up now.

Berry Good, Too

Also bursting with antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C are huckleberries, raspberries, and blueberries.


Holiday Angel Cake

Makes 8 large servings
1 cup cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Splenda (sugar substitute)
12 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh cranberries or
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp finely chopped orange zest (or substitute lemon zest)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Clean and dry a tube pan. (Trace amounts of oil can cause whipped egg whites to deflate.)
2. Stir flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and Splenda together in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites with the vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt with mixer until medium-stiff peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar while continuing to whip to stiff peaks. When you think the egg whites have reached maximum volume, gradually fold in the flour mixture, one-third at a time.
4. Stir in cranberries and orange zest.
5. Pour the angel food batter into the pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched.
6. Balance the pan upside down on the top of a bottle to prevent decompression while cooling. When cool, run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a serving plate.

Per serving: 171 calories, 7.5 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0.8 g fiber, 216 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 1%.

Published November 2006.

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