Cranberries are often a popular part of holiday celebrations in the form of cranberry sauce, cranberry drinks and dried cranberries added to stuffing, casseroles or dessert. No one knows for sure how cranberries became associated with holiday feasts, but historians guess that it had something to do with the Native Americans, who used cranberries not only for food and medicine but also to make dyes for clothing and blankets. As far as healthy foods go, cranberries are at the top of the list due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content and are often referred to as a "super food." Not to mention, half a cup of cranberries contains only 25 calories! The possible health benefits of consuming cranberries include lowered risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, decreased blood pressure and more. This piece of words has been created with the help of WebMD, Medical News Today, Live Strong, Style Craze and Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology.
1. Prevents Urinary Tract Infections:
Urinary tract infection refers to the presence of microorganisms in the urine that exceeds the permissible limit. There is significant evidence that suggests that cranberry juice helps to prevent urinary tract infection
Proanthocyanidins found in cranberry juice prevents the bacteria from binding itself to the cells of the bladder walls. These compounds prevent the bacteria from multiplying further and flush them out of the body through urine. This juice makes the urine more acidic thereby creating an environment that is inhospitable for the infection causing bacteria to thrive. Drinking cranberry juice regularly can prevent recurring tract infections in middle aged and pregnant women.
2. Anti-tumor Properties:
The polyphenol compound present in cranberry has anti-tumor effects.
Regular consumption of cranberry juice inhibits the development and spread of lung, breast, colon and prostate tumors. The presence of salicylic acid reduces swelling and prevents the formation of blood clots which can lead to tumor.
3. Improves Cardiovascular Health:
Cranberry juice lowers the risk of developing heart related ailments and improves cardiovascular health.
The flavonoids and antioxidants present in cranberries decrease the threat of atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries get constricted owing to the accumulation of fat in it. This obstructs the flow of oxygen rich blood to various parts of the body which can lead to heart attack or stroke. These compounds found in cranberries suppress the oxidation of low density lipoprotein and encourage the formation of blood platelets.
4. Combats Tooth Decay:
Cranberry juice is also known to prevent tooth decay. Proanthocyanidin found in cranberries inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause plaque and prevents the decay of teeth due to development of cavities.
Good dental hygiene along with a moderate consumption of cranberry juice disrupts the mechanism of pathogenesis and promotes good dental health.
Unsweetened cranberry juice decreases the incidence of the bacteria that are found in the mouth and combats bad breath too. Therefore a healthy dose of this juice ensures clean teeth at all times.
5. Fights Cancer:
Incorporating cranberry juice in the daily diet can even prevent the occurrence of certain types of cancers.
The proanthocyanidin in cranberries inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the body.
Studies have concluded that a diet rich in flavonoids reduces the risk of cancer and the mortality due to it.
The anti-carcinogenic compounds found in this juice hinder the growth of cancer cells, particularly those of colon and prostate cancer. It hinders growth of micro tumors in the blood cells and prevents their unrestrained growth. Certain chemicals in cranberries thwart the incidence of breast cancer too.
6. Fights Common Infections:
Cranberry juice is also effective in remedying infections like cold, flu and sore throat.
It also soothes the respiratory tract and inhibits the growth of certain strains of haemophilus influenzae which are a common cause of respiratory and ear infections in children.
Several researches have indicated that cranberry juice protects the brain from neurological damage and other brain related diseases.
7. Soothes Discomfort Caused Due to ulcers:
The flavonoid content of cranberry juice reduces the risk of developing stomach disorders like peptic ulcer by inhibiting the growth of helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes infection in the stomach. A study has revealed that patients ailing from this stomach disorder, who consumed the juice of cranberries, reported twice the relief when compared to those who did not consume it.
8. Prevents Scurvy:
The high vitamin C content in cranberry juice is extremely vital for the production of collagen in the body which is responsible for the healthy functioning of tissues. This is beneficial in preventing the occurrence of scurvy and other related diseases.
9. Soothes Inflammation:
The anti-inflammatory properties of cranberry juice work extremely well in treating inflammation, particularly lung inflammation caused by the influenza virus. Non Dialyzable present in cranberries obstructs the virus from sticking to the cells, thereby preventing infections.
10. Aids Weight Loss:
Cranberry juice has an emulsifying effect on the fats deposited in the body which in turn help in losing weight. Owing to its fiber content, there is a tendency to stay satiated for a longer period of time.
11. Boosts Immunity:
The juice of cranberries is rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals which promote a healthy immune system. It also eases the symptoms of age related problems like memory loss, lack of coordination etc.
12. Curbs Yeast Infection:
Cranberries are also known to curb a rare kind of infection, known as yeast infection. Yeast infection is caused due to an overgrowth of naturally occurring bacteria in the body which occurs mostly in men and children. This juice contains substances that render bacteria ineffective to cling to the walls of the mouth, intestines or urinary tract. Fresh cranberry juice flushes out yeast and other excess fungi from the body.
13. Prevents Kidney Stones:
The calcium present in cranberry juice strengthens the teeth and bones, thereby reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis. It also contains quinic acid which is said to be beneficial in preventing the formation of kidney stones.
b. Skin Benefits Of Cranberry Juice:
Cranberries provide a plethora of benefits to the skin. It regenerates, moisturizes and brightens the skin. It is effective in treating wrinkles that is primarily caused due to free radicals.
14. Anti- Aging Properties:
With its high concentration of antioxidants, vitamin C, B3 and B5, drinking cranberry juice regularly not only enhances the turnover of cells, but also shields against any damage caused due to environmental factors.
The free radicals present in the environment are responsible for the formation of wrinkles, redness, pigmentation and fine lines on the skin. Anti-oxidants in cranberry juice combat the free radicals and by supplying the missing electrons, thereby reducing the damage caused and slowing down the aging process.
15. Acts as a Toner:
The acidic nature of cranberry juice also helps people with oily skin. The enzymes present in this fruit exfoliate dead skin and unclog the sebaceous glands which prevent the formation of sebum. Mix cranberry juice along with honey and rub it on the face. Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. This instant mix works as a wonderful toner for the skin.
16. Firms Up the Skin:
Vitamin C in cranberry juice is a component that is crucial for the production of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, the amino acids which are required for the production of collagen in the body.
Collagen helps the blood vessels under the skin in carrying oxygen and other nutrients which in turn soften and firms up the skin keeping it look young and radiant. This juice is a favorite as it offers ample protection against the harsh winter weather conditions. Consumption of cranberry juice will help keep the skin smooth and supple even during winters.
17. Treats Acne:
The antiseptic properties of this juice are very effective for treating acne and boils on the skin.
Cranberry juice is rich in resveratrol, an antioxidant which is very effective in minimizing acne and pimples.
A mask made of cranberry juice as one of the primary ingredients brightens the skin and gives an instant fresh look. Mix cranberry juice with orange peel powder and a bit of honey. Make a fine paste of it.
Apply it all over the face and leave it on for 20 minutes. When applied on a regular basis, it is sure to give the skin a lighter tone.
c. Hair Benefits Of Cranberry Juice:
18. Promotes Hair Growth:
Cranberry juice is considered to be one of the best fruits juices for long and lustrous hair.
Vitamin A and C that are present in cranberry juice are the two main vitamins that promote the growth of healthy hair. Regular consumption of cranberry juice prevents hair loss and promotes the growth of hair.
19. Prevents Psoriasis and Alopecia:
The antiseptic and antifungal properties of this juice prevents dandruff, psoriasis other scalp related problems. Cranberry juice when applied topically on the scalp helps to get rid of these conditions. Vitamin C in cranberry juice is an essential nutrient to treat damaged hair and prevent a variety of hair disorders. Cranberry juice can help to combat alopecia, and male baldness.
20. A Natural Hair Color:
It can be used to color the hair.
Mix a cup of pure cranberry juice with 1/4th cup of water.
Use this as a final rinse after washing the hair. This rinse works great on hair of darker shade, and brings out the rich red hue of the hair, especially in sunlight.
d. Benefits of Cranberry Juice for Women
21. Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer
As with other forms of juice, cranberry juice offers a number of important vitamins and minerals -- including vitamin C. According to "Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology," one 8-ounce serving of cranberry juice provides about 25 milligrams of vitamin C, or roughly 39 percent of daily recommendations. BreastCancer.org reports that women who consume large amounts of vitamin C may be less likely to develop certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. Unfortunately, people who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer may not benefit from the use of vitamin C, as it can interfere with the function of certain forms of cancer therapy.
22. Prevention of Urinary Track Infections
Urinary tract infections can affect many different areas of the body, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra. And though either gender can be diagnosed with this condition, it is much more likely to strike women. The Cooking Light website reports that a particular type of antioxidant found in cranberry juice -- called proanthocyanins -- can help prevent the adherence of certain types of bacteria to the wall of the urinary tract, where they can cause infection. In addition to serving as a preventative tool, cranberry juice can be used as a homeopathic remedy for those who are experiencing mild to moderate cases of urinary tract infection, according to the book "Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology."
23. Enhanced Heart Health
Heart disease is a major killer among women -- in fact, the American Heart Association notes that the disease is responsible for nearly one-third of female deaths each year. Fortunately, cranberry juice may also be an effective way for women to boost heart health. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin C, an important antioxidant, may be able to prevent heart disease by reversing the damage associated with free radicals in the body. Vitamin C is especially helpful when it comes to reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol, and slowing the progression of atherosclerosis.
24. Pre-eclampsia Prevention
Pre-eclampsia is a condition associated with high blood pressure and increased amounts of protein in the urine of pregnant women -- and when left untreated, this condition can result in premature birth. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that vitamin C -- such as that found in cranberry juice -- can be an effective way to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia for women who are at high risk for developing the condition. Supplementing with vitamin E may also provide some benefits for women at risk for pre-eclampsia.
Cranberry is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. Cranberry juice and cranberry extracts have been used safely in people. Cranberry juice is LIKELY SAFE for children. However, drinking too much cranberry juice can cause some side effects such as mild stomach upset and diarrhea. Drinking more than 1 liter per day for a long period of time might increase the chance of getting kidney stones.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Cranberries and cranberry juice are safe to consume during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, do not use dietary supplements that contain cranberry products. It is not known if these are safe to use during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
1. Aspirin allergy:
Cranberries contain significant amounts of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is similar to aspirin. Avoid drinking large quantities of cranberry juice if you are allergic to aspirin.
2. Inflammation of the stomach lining (Atrophic gastritis):
Cranberry juice might increase how much vitamin B12 the body absorbs for people with atrophic gastritis.
Some cranberry juice products are sweetened with extra sugar. If you have diabetes, stick with cranberry products that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
4. Low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria):
Cranberry juice might increase how much vitamin B12 the body absorbs for people with low levels of stomach acid. Kidney stones: Cranberry juice and cranberry extracts contain a large amount of a chemical called oxalate. In fact, there is some evidence that some cranberry extract tablets can boost the level of oxalate in the urine by as much as 43%. Since kidney stones are made primarily from oxalate combined with calcium, healthcare providers worry that cranberry might increase the risk of kidney stones. To be on the safe side, avoid taking cranberry extract products or drinking a lot of cranberry juice if you have a history of kidney stones.