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Health Benefits of Drinking Cranberry Juice

Health Benefits of Drinking Cranberry Juice

By now, almost every woman knows that drinking cranberry juice is good for the urinary tract (provided that you don't have an existing health problem involving the kidneys, bladder, or the urinary tract). But did you know that cranberry juice also provides a whole host of other health benefits, including laxative, cardioprotective, antibacterial, and anti-cancer effects. Keep reading to get the full lowdown of the benefits of cranberry juice.

Cranberry Juice Has Mild Laxative Effects

If you've ever drank a lot of cranberry juice all at once, you may have found yourself rushing to the toilet. Diarrhea and loose stools are common side effects of drinking cranberry juice (in excess), but for looking for natural foods that can help with constipation cranberries' mild laxative effects can be great news! To maximize the laxative effects of cranberry juice, combine it with other laxative drinks such as coconut water or prune juice.

A Preventive Treatment for Urinary Tract Infections

One of the most researched potential health benefits of cranberry juice is its ability to prevent urinary tract infections, especially in women. The proanthocyanidins (condensed tannins) in cranberry juice have been shown to prevent Escherichia coli, the main UTI-causing bacterium, from clinging to the cells in the urinary tract wall. It has been demonstrated, however, that cranberry juice is not capable of removing E. coli bacteria that have already adhered to the urinary tract wall.

Smile – Cranberry Juice May Be Good for Your Teeth, Too!

In general, fruit juices are not considered good for oral health as they typically contain high amounts of sugar which contributes to the formation of dental caries. However, cranberry juice may be an exception. A substantial body of evidence suggests that cranberry juice contains compounds that may help reduce oral diseases, including caries and periodontitis. A 2008 review of earlier studies on cranberries and caries concluded that cranberry components can act as potential anti-caries agents due to their ability to inhibit acid production, attachment, and biofilm formation by Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium that causes cavities and tooth decay.

Cranberry Juice is Good for the Heart

Cranberry juice also shows up on HealWithFood.org's list of the top 18 foods and drinks hat help improve cardiovascular health due to its potential cholesterol-lowering abilities. One study with nineteen subjects with high cholesterol levels found that on average, three glasses of cranberry juice a day increased the amount of HDL cholesterol (the "good cholesterol") by 10 percent. Based on earlier studies, the researchers estimated that this increase in LDL cholesterol would correspond to a 40 percent reduction in heart disease risk. Cranberry juice was also found to increase plasma antioxidant capacity, which further suggests that drinking cranberry juice may provide cardiovascular benefits. Note: Cranberry juice may interfere with the anti-coagulant drug warfarin. Talk to your doctor if you are taking warfarin, or other anti-coagulants, before using cranberry juice or cranberry supplements.

Anti-Bacterial Effects Against Helicobacter Pylori

You may have already heard about the ability of turmeric to kill H pylori in test tubes. But guess what, turmeric is hardly the only natural substance that can help kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can cause damage in the intestinal tracts of the infected people. Evidence from both test tube experiments and human studies suggests that also cranberry juice has H. pylori fighting properties. For more on this, check out HealWithFood.org's in-depth article on the ability of cranberry juice to kill H. pylori bacteria.

Cranberry Juice Has Anti-Cancer Activity

Fresh cranberry juice, like many other natural fruit juices, contain compounds that may make them effective at preventing cancer, when consumed as part of an overall healthy cancer prevention diet. A study published in the December 2006 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry assessed the anti-cancer activity of extracts from six commonly consumed berries and found that all the tested berries, including cranberries, were capable of inhibiting the growth of human breast, prostate, colon, and oral tumor cell lines in test tubes.

1. R. Raz, B. Chazan, and M. Dan (2004). Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 38 (10): 1413-1419.
2. Howell, A. B. et al (2005). A-type cranberry proanthocyanidins and uropathogenic bacterial anti-adhesion activity. Phytochemistry, 66, 2281-2291.
3. Schmidt DR, Sobota AE. An examination of the anti-adherence activity of cranberry juice on urinary and nonurinary bacterial isolates. Microbios 1988, 55:173-81.
4. Lowe F. C. and Fagelman E. (2005). Cranberry juice and urinary tract infections: what is the evidence? Urology 2001;57, 407-13.
5. C. Bodet et al (2008). Potential Oral Health Benefits of Cranberry. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Volume 48, Issue 7, 2008.
6. American Chemical Society (2003, March 26). Study Provides New Evidence That Cranberry Juice May Help Fight Heart Disease.
7. Seeram N. P. et al (2006). Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry, and strawberry extracts inhibit growth and stimulate apoptosis of human cancer cells in vitro. J Agric Food Chem. 13, 54(25), 9329-39.

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