Cranberry juice is not only a deliciously tasting drink, it also provides us with important health benefits.
If we believe everything we read it would appear that cranberry juice can cure half of all known health problems. Unfortunately this is not the case. But cranberry juice does receive a good press, and it is important to understand why.
Fruit and vegetables are an important addition to our diets. They ensure we receive the right balance of vitamins and minerals, proven to help lower the risk of chronic disease.
It is no secret that drinking pure, unsweetened fruit juice like orange, apple and pineapple provides our bodies with important nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants.
But what about cranberry juice? How can this less popular juice be of any more benefit to our health and should we be substituting our traditional morning orange and pineapple juice, with cranberry juice?
Here’s Some Info on Cranberries and Their Nutritional Value..
Cranberries are grown as shrubs in the wild, or on vines when cultivated. They are bright red in color and have a rich tart and slightly bitty taste to them. In the US they are predominantly grown in the northern states and southern Canada and are a larger variety than wild cranberries found in Europe.
One cup of cranberries measures roughly 50 calories. They contain zero cholesterol and the total fat composition is only 0.1 gram, which makes cranberry juice a very low-fat, healthy drink.
As with many brightly colored fruits, cranberries are rich in antioxidants which benefit the body in a number of ways. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, a very good source of dietary fiber, and a good source of manganese and vitamin K.
How Can Cranberry Juice Benefit Me?
Apart from other healthy nutrients they produce, the most notable benefit of cranberry juice, and what sets it apart from other fruit juices, is its ability to treat and prevent urinary tract infections.
Cranberries contain an antibacterial agent called hippuric acid which acidifies the urine. Combined with other compounds it reduces the ability of E-coli bacteria to stick to the walls of the bladder. It simply mixes with the urine and is washed away.
Since E-coli are responsible for up to 90% of urinary tract infections, the protection provided by cranberry juice is quite significant. Drinking one glass of cranberry juice every day can reduce the risk of infections and prevents cystitis.
But more research has led to other important health benefits of cranberry juice including:
- Helps to Reduce High Cholesterol Levels – Drinking cranberry juice daily may help to increase levels of HDL, (good cholesterol) and reduce levels of LDL, (bad cholesterol). The knock on effect is less of the bad cholesterol clogging the walls of your arteries which puts less strain on the heart.
- Prevention of Kidney Stone Formation – Some medical studies have shown that quinic acid, abundantly found in cranberries, may help to prevent the development of kidney stones.
- Cranberries Combat Herpes Virus – Scientists have found that a substance extracted from the cranberries suppressed the genital herpes virus. Tests showed that the compound, proanthocyanidin, made it harder for the virus to penetrate cells.
- Protection Against Macular Degeneration- (An affliction of the eyes that affect many people as they age).
- Reduction of Dental Plaque – Studies have shown that cranberry juice can reduce the growth of bacteria that causes plaque to stick to the teeth, preventing decay and gum disease.
- Prevents Stomach Related Problems – A daily glass of cranberry juice can help destroy H.pylori bacteria which cause stomach ulcers and cancer.
Research into cranberry juice benefits is ongoing, but it is now widely accepted for its powerful antioxidants and the health benefits these bring.
It is a combination of the different compounds that make up cranberries rather than any 1 individual mineral that provides these various health benefits.
I personally drink a glass of cranberry juice every morning instead of my usual grapefruit juice. I find I can get the benefits of other juices in a variety of foods, whereas cranberry juice is quite unique and effective in what it does.
Apart from that, it is a really refreshing drink that perks you up for the day.
It does have quite a sharp taste to it and I dilute mine with a quarter glass of water, which makes it last even longer.
The pure, nothing added variety of cranberry juice is the obvious choice as there’s already enough benefits without adding any more.
If you can’t find a suitable brand in your local store, try an online supplement catalog.