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The Health Benefits Of Cranberries And Cranberry Juice

Updated on January 1, 2016
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Cranberries - The Superfruit

Cranberries have been marketed as a superfruit; a fruit that has exceptional nutrient richness, antioxidant quality and an appealing taste that keeps consumers wanting to come back for more.

Superfruits were initially marketed as juices but later on encompassed fruits that that could be used in functional foods, confectionery and cosmetics, and even as an ingredient with which novel consumer products could be created.

Though the term superfruit is a marketing ploy used by the food and beverage industry and has no official recognition from the FDA or the USDA, do not undermine the extraordinarily rich nutrient content and exceptional antioxidant composition of the fruits falling under this category - the category of superfruits.

Cranberries

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Cranberries

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Cranberry growing in bogscranberry flowers, resemble the neck, head and bill of a crane. Hence the name cranberry is derived from "craneberry", the berry being so named first by the early European settlers in America.wet harvesting of cranberries
Cranberry growing in bogs
Cranberry growing in bogs | Source
cranberry flowers, resemble the neck, head and bill of a crane. Hence the name cranberry is derived from "craneberry", the berry being so named first by the early European settlers in America.
cranberry flowers, resemble the neck, head and bill of a crane. Hence the name cranberry is derived from "craneberry", the berry being so named first by the early European settlers in America. | Source
wet harvesting of cranberries
wet harvesting of cranberries | Source

About The Cranberry Plant And Cranberry Fruit

Cranberries are scarlet red, glossy skinned and extremely tart berries that belong to the plant Vaccinium macrocarpon. Also called American cranberry and the trailing swamp cranberry, the cranberry plant is a vine like plant having about 2 meters long stem from which grow 2-8 inch tall upright branches that produce leaves and deep pink hued blooms. Pollination of the flowers is by honey bees.

The blooms give way to raw white cranberries which turn a deep red color when fully ripe. Cranberries have a certain sweetness to them that is masked by their extreme tartness.

Cranberries in the wild are found to grow in acidic swamps, in the cooler climates of the Northern hemisphere. They grow best in marshy or swampy soil. Cranberries are cultivated in sandy bogs.

Harvesting of cranberries is done by wet or dry methods, the majority being done by wet or water harvesting using a mechanical harvester after flooding the beds with water. It has been found that exposing the cranberries to direct sunlight increases the concentration of anthocyanins therefore water harvesting of cranberries offers benefits apart from the harvesting convenience. Majority of harvesting is carried out from October to December.


How Cranberry Juice Prevents Urinary Tract Infections

Discover The Unkown Health Benefits Cranberry Can Bring You!

Cranberry Uses

95% of the cranberries produced are processed into juice, sauce and dried cranberries. Since cranberries have a severe tart taste it is either blended with other fruit juices or sweetened to reduce its tartness.

Fresh cranberries can be frozen at home and will stay good for almost 9 months.

Cranberries maintain their maximum nutrients and taste when eaten fresh. Cooking or baking at temperatures of 350 deg F and above destroys a large proportion of its nutrients.

It has been found that consuming processed cranberry juice does not provide the full benefits phytonutrients found in cranberries, as the skin and flesh contain the majority of these phytonutrients.

Consumption of whole cranberries provides its maximum health benefits due to the synergistic effect between the various phytonutrients. Isolated, these phytonutrients do not confer the complete package of health benefits.


Nutritional Benefits Of Cranberries

  • Cranberries contain very good levels of proanthocyanidins-the phenolic phytochemicals.
  • Cranberry's special combination of phenolic antioxidants, proanthocyanidin antioxidants, anthocyanin antioxidants, flavonoid antioxidants, and triterpenoid antioxidants is unique.
  • They are a good source of Vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, manganese and copper.
  • They contain several B complex vitamins as well as vitamin E and K.
  • Cranberries have the highest ORAC score among all the edible berries with an orac value of 1750 orac or 9584 THE units per 100 grams.


Health Benefits Of Cranberries

  • Anti Cancer Benefits

Cranberries have been found to have anticancer properties. They prevent cancer by triggering various mechanisms which ultimately result in the death of the tumor cells.

It should be understood that cranberries have not been found to treat cancer but to only prevent cancers of the prostate, breast, colon and lungs.

Cranberries are loaded with unique antioxidants and anti inflammatory nutrients and these form the basis of their anti cancer properties.

  • Antioxidant Benefits

Whole cranberries are chock full with an amazing variety of antioxidants that are not found in any other fruit. This combination of phenolic, anthocyanin, flavonoid, proanthocyanidin and triterpenoid antioxidants is unique.

Also the combination of the antioxidants resveratrol, piceatannol and pterostilbene is unique. It has been established by research that there is a synergistic effect between all the antioxidants nutrients.The presence of manganese and vitamin C makes this a very potent antioxidant combination.

Any processing of cranberries decreases its health benefits as this unique combination of antioxidants is disturbed.

  • Benefits The Digestive System

Cranberries reduce the risk of stomach and colon cancer. The procyanidins do not allow the causative H.pylori bacterium to adhere to the stomach lining.

Also, research indicates that cranberries optimize the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract. The population of the beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacteria increased with cranberry consumption resulting in better digestive health.

This study involved participants consuming 2 ounces of cranberry juice for 3 months.

  • Benefits The Urinary Tract

The proanthocyanidins in cranberries offer benefits in infections of the urinary tract. Cranberries not only makes it difficult for bacteria like E.coli, the bacteria that are found to cause most UTI's, to attach to the urinary tract lining, they also prevent the increase in population of these bacteria.

This benefits has been seen to be most pronounced in middle aged women who face recurrent UT infections. Consumption of cranberries by this group was found to reduce the UTI's by over 1/3.

  • Checks Periodontal Disease

Cranberries lower the risk of periodontal disease. It has been found that excessive inflammation of the gums leads to damage of the tissues supporting the teeth. The phytonutrients in cranberries reduce this inflammation.


  • Provides Immunity Support

By raising the immunity levels, cranberry extracts have been shown to reduce symptoms and frequency of respiratory infections like cold and flu. Proanthocyanidins are active nutrients providing this immunity boost.


Cranberries are available fresh or frozen, as juice or concentrate, and in tablet or capsule form. Have your pick but remember that processing of any kind decreases the amazing array of cranberries' health benefits.

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  • Benefits To The Heart And Vascular System

The antioxidants and the anti inflammatory phytonutrients reduce blood vessel damage by preventing plaque formation and consequent thickening and reduction in the core of the blood vessels that finally leads to blockage in blood vessels.

Other benefits like reduction in blood pressure, lowering of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, increase in HDL cholesterol and prevention of atherosclerosis can be derived by consuming cranberries or its juice in normal amounts everyday.

  • Benefits During Pregnancy

Women experience more UTI's during pregnancy. Since cranberries impart benefits in UT infections and as it has been found that there is minimal risk of cranberry consumption, cranberry supplementation via fruit or fruit juice is a good choice to treat pregnancy related UTI's.

  • Decreases Risk Of Urate Stones

Cranberry decreases urinary uric acid, hence the risk for developing urate stones in susceptible individuals is decreased.

  • Anti Aging Benefits

Studies on animals points towards the benefits of consuming cranberries in protecting the brain from neurological damage. Controlling of free radicals is the leading cause of these benefits.

  • Regulates Glycemic Response

Studies show that the polyphenols in cranberries blunt the blood sugar response in humans. Therefore, cranberry juice may benefit those with impaired glucose tolerance or those having risk for metabolic syndrome.


Cranberry Juice

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Health Benefits Of Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice being very tart is never drunk on its own. It is either combined with sweeter juices like that of apples or grapes. The pure juice can also be diluted with water and a natural sweetener like stevia added to it to make it palatable. Sugar and corn syrup can also be used in place of stevia.

However to derive the full benefits of cranberry juice ensure that you do not consume processed cranberry juice as it is loaded with sugar and this will detract from the very benefits one is trying to obtain. The best option would be to buy 100% pure juice, mix it with water or other natural juices or add a natural sweetener like stevia.

To sum up the health benefits of cranberry juice :

  • Provides anti aging benefits.
  • Prevents urinary tract and bladder infections.
  • Boosts body immunity and fights infections.
  • Reduces risk of heart disease and cancer.
  • Reduces LDL, boosts HDL and lowers total cholesterol levels.
  • Prevents tooth decay and gum problems.
  • Keep the digestive system healthy.


Precautions

  1. Cranberries contain high levels of oxalates which may raise the risk of developing kidney stones in certain individuals.
  2. Those who are allergic to aspirin could also be allergic to cranberry.
  3. Cranberry may increase the risk of bleeding if taken simultaneously with blood thinning medications like warfarin.
  4. Cranberry may interact with medicines that are processed in the liver.


Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

References

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19021808
  • Joseph, J.A., Nadeau, D.A., and Underwood, A. The Color Code - A revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health. 1st ed. New York, NY: Hyperion, 2002.
  • http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721152005.htm
  • http://www.med.umich.edu/cancer/support/cranberries.shtml
  • http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/cranberry-000235.htm
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/12058986/?i=16&from=/15810945/related
  • http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/22/1_MeetingAbstracts/890.8
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20626034
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18204103
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15173424
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106157
  • Khoo C, Hullar MAJ, Li F et al. Effect of cranberry juice intake on human gut microbial community and urinary metabolites in a randomized, placebo-controlled intervention. FASEB J. 2010 24:720.3 [Meeting Abstract] . 2010.
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16352876.
  • 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. 2005.
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133681/
  • Nantz MP, Rowe CA, Muller CE et al. Cranberry phytochemicals modify human immune function and appear to reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. FASEB J, Apr 2010; 24: 326.6. 2010.
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20443158
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranberry
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12058989
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12058988
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16923231
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17761017
  • Shaughnessy K, Sweeney M and Neto C. Investigation of the effects of cranberry fractions on atherosclerosis in mice. FASEB J. 2007 21:847.26 [Meeting Abstract] . 2007.
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17487928
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20646356
  • 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. 2003.
  • http://surgery.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21704
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18361737

Marbled Cranberry Bread Recipe

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry Oat Bars Recipe

Cranberry Tart Recipe

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I have a bag in my freezer and can't wait to get at all the healthy benefits! I learned lots from reading your post.

    • rajan jolly profile image
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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Your Cousins, thanks for stopping by.

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks Rajan. I love CranApple juice, but stopped drinking it when I read how much sugar was added. I will try mixing up my own concoction using stevia.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Suzie-thanks so much for giving this hub a read and for all the appreciation, votes and sharing.

      @pinto-thanks a lot.

      @Mohan-it's an honor for my hub to be appreciated by you, doc! Thanks!

      @Donna-I'm sure there is enough evidence of cranberry's benefits in UTI's. I hope you make it a daily habit. Thanks for stopping by.

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 4 years ago from Central North Carolina

      I love cranberry juice and have used it for UTI for years, as recommended by a doctor. Now reading of all the other benefits I believe I will make it a daily habit.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      A highly readable hub chock full of useful information explained in easy to understand language. I like the balanced overview backed by scientific evidence. Another gem in this series! Up/ awesome.

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Rajan! You have written something which I like very much and is very beneficial. Your detailing of the subject is amazing. Thumbs Up.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Rajan,

      Many thanks for this interesting and informative guide to Cranberries which I have often taken in juice form. I used to have it daily in Light form and knew it was beneficial with Vit C and antioxidants but I did not know HOW beneficial it is until you enlightened me, thank you! Good to know from my my health guru that I was on the right path! Must revert back to taking daily. Votes, Shares and Pinned!

    • rajan jolly profile image
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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Peggy-thanks for all the compliments and sharing. Appreciate your visit.

      @Stephanie-thanks for visiting and commenting.

      @Abdus-thanks.

    • vertualit profile image

      Abdus Salam 4 years ago from Bangladesh

      I love you hub. very informative and useful. Thanks for sharing..

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 4 years ago from New Jersey

      My favorite way to utilize cranberries is for cranberry sauce. But I used to drink the juice all the time.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      When we lived in central Wisconsin on the news each night they would give the temperature and then also the bog temperature which was always degrees lower. They grow a lot of cranberries in that part of the state. This hub of yours was packed with useful and interesting information. Up votes and passing this on by sharing and pinning. Thanks for assembling it + adding good sounding recipes at the end in video form.

    • rajan jolly profile image
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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Fresh cranberries are not available in India since they do not grow here. We do however get cranberry juice here, sweetie.

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 4 years ago from India

      Very good hub. Voting it up and useful. Just one question.. Are cranberries available In India and what they are called locally?

    • rajan jolly profile image
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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Sugar is added because cherries are extremely tart. Thanks for reading and I appreciate all the votes and sharing, Paul.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      rajan,

      This is another awesome well-researched hub on the health benefits of cranberries. When I lived in Wisconsin, I ate a lot of cranberries especially during Thanksgiving because they are grown in the central part of the state. We always had the cranberry sauce with turkey and all the fixings for Thanksgiving. I have also had cranberry juice, but I think it was processed and had a little sugar added to it. Cranberries are really tart, but I really miss them since living in Thailand. Voted up as awesome and sharing. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

    • rajan jolly profile image
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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @moonlake-I believe the cranberry festival must be an interesting thing to be at. Great to know you have these healthy berries around there. Thanks for reading and sharing.

      @Marlene-I just love the awesome taste of cranberries and the health benefits are a big bonus. Thanks for stopping by.

      @Rasma-thanks and I appreciate the sharing.

    • rajan jolly profile image
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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Devika. They are delicious and healthy.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The Health Benefits Of Cranberries And Cranberry Juice, I bought some dried cranberries and they were so delicious, with a lovely flavor just enjoyed snacking time, I have learned more here about cranberries.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for sharing this interesting hub about the benefits of cranberries. I love cranberry juice. Passing this on.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      voted up useful. I love cranberry juice and as you pointed out, the benefits are incredible.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Love cranberrys. We have two cranberry bogs near us. Their a big thing around with Cranberry Festival and so on. Interesting hub voted up and shared.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Carol-that's wonderful! Thank you for visiting and commenting.

      @Bill-thanks for reading and appreciating. I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well.

      @Gags-thanks for the read and share.

      @kashmir-thanks for stopping by.

      @prasetio-thanks, my friend and good to see you!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      There's one reason I choose you as one of my favorite hubber. You always update your hub and sharing useful information like this one. I had never try the fresh cranberries juice. But sometimes I buy it in the box from supermarket. Nice information. Voted up (useful, interesting, awesome)

      Prasetio

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi rajan jolly great well written and researched article on the health benefits of cranberries. I just love cranberry juice with protein it a great drink.

      Vote up and more !

    • gags3480 profile image

      GAGANPREET SINGH BHATIA 4 years ago from Kanpur, India

      Lot of useful Information here. Voted up & shared.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was already aware of the benefits of cranberries and I drink cranberry juice on a regular basis. Great to know all of the health benefits so thank you for that. Great information as always and have a wonderful weekend, Rajan.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      It is too bad you cannot eat these cranberries raw. I do eat the dried ones occasionally and try to buy organic pure cranberry juice. Great hub and you certainly covered all the points...

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Happyboomernurse-glad you appreciate the finer points in here. Thanks for stopping by.

      @Lupita-Thanks for appreciating and visiting.

      @Elisha-good to know you now have the health info at hand. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

      @Joe-thanks for such effusive praise, my friend. Your comment means a lot. Thank you for visiting and it's always good to see you around.

      @Shadaan-thanks for your comments and the visit. I hope cranberry helped you to overcome the UTI problem.

    • younghopes profile image

      Shadaan Alam 4 years ago from India

      thanks for this useful hub, cranberry has been close to my heart since few years back i too suffered from uti problem and thus used to drink it a lot.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Very nicely done, Rajan! I like cranberries anyway, but sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that something that's nutritiously healthy for us to eat may not be pleasing to the appetite. We quickly learn that this is not the case when you so adeptly include videos of recipes coming alive with delicious concoctions made from these healthy foods. Thank you once again, my friend, for this wonderful teaching hub. Aloha!

      Joe

    • Elisha Jachetti profile image

      Elisha Jachetti 4 years ago

      This is a great hub about the benefits of cranberries. I just had some natural homemade cranberry juice yesterday, so it's nice to know the nutritional aspect of what I consumed.

    • LupitaRonquillo profile image

      LupitaRonquillo 4 years ago

      The most information on cranberries I've read in one article online, including recipes! Very well written... Voted up!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      Very comprehensive and well researched hub about the benefits of eating cranberries. I like that you emphasized the fact that processing and the addition of sugar decrease the benefits.

      Voted this hub up, interesting and useful. You did a great job on it!