Cranberry is group of evergreen shrub with long vines and runners cultivated in the northern parts of United States, Chile and Canada. They are also known as Arandano, Mossberry and American cranberry. Owing to its high concentration of citric acid, they are known to be one of the most acidic fruits. Cranberries are low; its vines are 2 meters long and 5 to 20 centimeters in height. Cranberries are usually processed into products such as sauce, jam, cranberry juice, and sweetened dried cranberries.
Since the 19th century, cranberry has been used in the preventing and treating of urinary tract infections. However, owing to their high acidity and severe sour taste, they are less readily used in clinical practice. Today cranberry is available in a various forms such as fresh cranberries, frozen cranberries, cranberry juice, cranberry drinks, cranberry sauce and lots more.
Cranberry Health Benefits
Cranberry has been proven to contain lots of health benefits which are summarized in this section.
Cranberry juice: Protection against Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Cranberry juice has been used in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs) even long before it was researched upon. Its ability to provide UTI benefits is owing to the fact that contains proanthocyanidin (PAC). The proanthocyanidin in cranberry, makes it difficult for bacteria to latch on to our urinary tract linings this is owing to the fact that this proanthocyanidin has special structure called A-type linkages which prevents this from happening. The proanthocyanidin also help prevent the expansion of unwanted bacteria that can result in outright infection of the urinary organ.
Cranberry has been proven to provide important anti-inflammatory benefits in our various digestive tracts such: the mouth, gums, stomach and colon. The various phytonutrients in this fruit are especially effective for preventing and lowering this. These phytonutrient categories include proanthocyanidins (PACs), anthocyanins, flavonols, and phenolic acid. Cranberry also assist in lowering the risk of periodontal disease on our gums as it has been medically proven that excessive levels of inflammation around our gums can damage the tissues responsible for supporting our teeth.
Though research in this area is limited, recent studies on immune support provided by cranberry are quite exciting and interesting. Studies have it that very small quantity of cranberry taken into our body can help our immune system and also reduces cold and flu.
A combination of cranberry antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients help in reducing cardiovascular diseases. The antioxidant components of cranberries, plays a key role in cranberry’s cardiovascular benefits. These antioxidant benefits have been associated with the reduced risk of high blood pressure in human. Resveratrol, pterostilbene and piceatannol, are three related nutrients which provides antioxidant properties, a special ability to support our cardiovascular system in this regard. Another area where cardiovascular support is provided by cranberry is in its ability to help us lower our LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol, while at the same time helping in increase our level of HDL-cholesterol. Cranberry helps us achieve these cholesterol changes by helping to improve our oxidative and inflammatory of our organs. All in all, it’s quite amazing how a simple food like cranberry can provide us with cardiovascular benefits at so many different levels, all rolled into one.
Cranberry is a strong anti-cancer nutrient as it lowers our risk of cancer development. This is owing to the fact that it consists of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Chronic excessive oxidative stress and chronic excessive inflammation are the two key risk factors promoting increased likelihood of cancer. The risk of contracting cancers like breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer are lowered using cranberry.
Digestive Tract Benefits
Adding up the health benefits of cranberry in our various digestive systems, it sounds almost impossible not to add that cranberry is a unique fruit which provides us with digestive tract benefits. Each category of phytonutrient, plays a vital role in digestive tract support; such as in the case of cranberry’s proanthocyanidins, whereby it’s decreased adherence of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori to our stomach wall that’s made possible by intake of cranberry. Cranberry also provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits which decreases our risk of colon cancer, and periodontal disease. Cranberry has also been known a fruit with the ability of optimizing the balance of bacteria in our various digestive organs. Research has it that cranberry juice helps in increasing the numbers of Bifidobacteria which is a friendly and desirable bacteria, in their digestive tract at the same time maintaining the balance of other bacterial types.
Good for Obesity
Cranberry juice is very rich in organic acids, which have an emulsifying effect on the fat deposits in our body. Therefore, has been proven to be good for people who want to shed of some pounds.
Helicobacter pylori also known as H.pylori, is a type of bacteria which causes Peptic ulcers. This bacteria, attacks the first parts of the stomach intestine known as the protective and duodenum layers there by leading to inflammation of the stomach lining. Foods such as garlic, apples and cranberry juice which are rich in flavonoids, flavonols, anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, helps in reducing the risk of these stomach disorders caused by Helicobacter by inhibiting its growth. Doctors recommend the intake of cranberry juice to suppress the growth of this infection.
It may interest you to note that 2 ounces of cranberry juice diluted in 8 ounces of water is very good for your overall health. Cranberry juice also strengthens the immune system and helps to relieve stress. Endeavour taking cranberries in any form you like as has numerous health benefits.