There are many cranberry benefits. Some of them include:
- Decreases total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases blood flow.
- Aids in recovery from a stroke.
- Inhibits certain types of cancer.
- Combats genital herpes.
- Inhibits ulcer-causing bacteria from sticking to the stomach wall.
- Protects against macular degeneration.
- Protects against neurodegenerative diseases and the memory and coordination losses associated with aging.
- Prevents urinary tract infections.
- Prevents kidney stones.
Top Health Promoting Components
The top health promoting components in blueberries include:
- Proanthocyanidins (PACs) - are unique compounds that can prevent the adhesion of certain of bacteria, including E. coli, associated with urinary tract infections to the urinary tact wall. The anti-adhesion properties of cranberry may also inhibit the bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers.
- Quinic acid - causes urine to become slightly acidic. This level of acidity is sufficient to prevent calcium and phosphate ions from joining to form insoluable stones.
- Pterostilben - is an antioxidant that is shown to help fight cancer, heart disease, and lower LDL cholesterol.
- Soluable fiber - forms a gel in the digestive tract that binds onto the bile, eliminating it with the bowel movement. Since bile contains cholesterol, and the bile is removed, the body must make more. To do so, it takes cholesterol out of the bloodstream.
- Insoluable fiber - is not absorbed by the body. Its health benefits include aiding digestion and promoting regularity by adding bulk. The "bulk" keeps other foods moving through the digestive tract.
Cranberries are among a small number of foods that contain any measurable amount of oxalates, naturally occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings.
When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating large amounts of cranberries.
Oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body. For this reason, individuals trying to increase their calcium stores may want to avoid eating cranberries with calcium-rich foods, or if taking calcium supplements, may want to eat them 2-3 hours before or after taking their supplements.
Cheng H, Lin T, Yang C, Shieh D, Lin C. In vitro HSV-2 activity and mechanism of action of proanthocyanidin A-1 from Vaccinium vitgis-idaea. J Sci Food Agric 2004 Oct;85(1):10-15.
Ferguson PJ, Kurowska E, Freeman DJ, Chambers AF, Koropatnick DJ. A flavonoid fraction from cranberry extract inhibits proliferation of human tumor cell lines. J Nutr. 2004 Jun;134(6):1529-35., PMID: 15173424
Kruse-Elliott K., Reed J. Cranberry juice modulates atherosclerotic vascular dysfunction. Paper presented at the 35th Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences in San Diego, CA, April 3, 2005.
Neto C et al. Cranberry juice might aid the recovery of stroke patients. Findings presented at the 226th meeting of the American Chemical Society, September 8, 2003.
Reed J. Cranberry flavonoids, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular health. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2002;42(3 Suppl):301-16.
Tero Kontiokari, Jaana Laitinen, Leea Järvi, Tytti Pokka, Kaj Sundqvist and Matti Uhari. Dietary factors protecting women from urinary tract infection. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003; Vol. 77, No. 3, 600-604.
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Vinson JA. Cranberry juice increases plasma antioxidant and HDL cholesterol levels. Research presented at the 225th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, March 24, 2003.
Cranberry May Help Fight Herpes Virus. WebMD, 2004
Cranberries May Help Reduce Stroke Damage. The Cranberry Institute, 2003
I hope you enjoyed reading about cranberry benefits.
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This page was last updated on 10/23/06.