On Cranberries and Their Unusual Health Benefits

by Natalie on October 23, 2014

Have you ever bought cranberry juice when you thought a UTI was coming on? Cranberries are very well known for that, but I recently found out they do a lot more!

The other day I was reading one my dietitian mags, and there was a really interesting article all about cranberries. I was so fascinated by the article that I went out the next day and bought some 100% cranberry juice. Here’s what I learned.

Origin & Harvesting

Cranberries are native to North America. They’re harvested in the fall from September through October.

They are typically harvested by flooding their marshes with water and using machines to knock the berries off the vines. Cranberries have several hollow chambers inside, which allows them to float and be collected.

Why You Should Eat More Cranberries

Cranberries are very rich in antioxidants which helps reduce oxidative stress from pollution, poor diet, stress, and aging. Their most well known health benefit – UTI prevention – occurs because a component in the berry stops bacteria from adhering to cells in your urinary tract.

Research shows that cranberries have this same action on other areas of the body as well such as the stomach, small intestine, and mouth. Meaning that cranberry consumption can prevent infection and may even decrease need for antibiotics. This may be especially helpful for children and the elderly, as they are at increased risk of antibiotic resistance.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that cranberries be used in place of antibiotics, but the article suggests it may be helpful to eat cranberries to decrease chance of bacterial infection. Perfect, since we’re going into cold and flu season!

Other notable research includes cranberry’s ability to destroy H. Pylori – a type of bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, and to fight off the harmful bacteria, E.coli in the small intestine.

It’s not just the juice either – all different cranberry products have shown health benefits in research (dried, sauces, and powders).

How much to eat?

The effective daily dose is ¼ cup 100% juice, ¼ cup dried cranberries, 250-1000 mg of powder.

Dried cranberries are usually loaded with sugar to tame down their tartness. I like to use unsweetened dried cranberries in recipes that are already a bit sweet – like granola. This balances out the tartness for me.

Now I’d love to hear from you – what’s your favorite way to eat cranberries? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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Amanda October 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm

I love to keep 100% cranberry juice around – it’s soo tart you can’t drink it alone but it’s great for topping off water or la croix and adds lots of flavor. Good to see 1/4 cup is the right daily serving since it’s hard to drink more

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