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Cranberries - Health Benefits of Cranberries

Updated on April 11, 2010


Cranberries have been known for some time as beneficial with cystitis and other UTIs, but it's becoming more apparent that they are helpful in many other areas of our health. Try cooking with cranberries, health benefits of cranberries are present even when cooked. And they taste delicious!

Fresh Cranberries

Delicious Red fruits
Delicious Red fruits

Health Benefits of Cranberries

Fresh cranberries are better than anything else, but cranberry juice unsweetened is good too. (sweetened juice will spoil the benefits, even diet juice with artificial sweeteners). Concentrated cranberry 100% pure, diluted in water, is better than sweetened juice.

Cranberries contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients which help prevent heart disease, stroke, and cancer, among other health problems.

The PACs (proanthocyanidins) help prevent the adhesion of bacteria to the walls of the urinary tract. These same properties can stop the bacteria that cause gum disease and stomach ulcers. They are powerful in stopping the adhesion of the E. coli bacteria as well. This effect of anti-adhesion will last up to 10 hours, so two servings of cranberry a day, morning and night, will ensure ongoing benefits.

Not only does cranberry keep us healthy, it will reduce the amount of infection we pick up, so lowering the necessity for antibiotics. The less antibiotics we take, the better they work when we do need them, as overuse of antibiotics will cause the body to become resistant, and even immune.

One component unique to cranberry juice, a high-molecular-weight NDM (nondialysable material) can stop the buildup of oral bacteria that cause dental plaque and gum disease, in adults and children, as well as helping in vitro, when taken in pregnancy.

Cranberry is also beneficial in preventing peptic ulcers, as it stops H pylori bacteria adhering to stomach lining.

H. pylori infection can also cause gastritis, acid reflux, and even stomach cancer.

The flavonoids in cranberries are powerful antioxidants which help reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, help prevent kidney stones and cancer, and keep healthy cholesterol levels.

The tannins in cranberries are potent antibacterial agents, fighting against bacteria, and preventing bacterial adhesion in the organs.

One of the plant nutrients in cranberries is extremely effective in the fight against the herpes simplex virus, which causes genital herpes.

Pterostilbene, another powerful antioxidant in cranberries (also found in grapes and blueberries) not only fights cancer, and lowers LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, but when taken regularly can help prevent both.

Even patients already suffering with arteriosclerosis, will find help in cranberries and cranberry juice. They help to improve the function of the blood vessels, and can prevent the arteriosclerosis from leading to heart attack.

For the prevention of cancer, it's best to take whole fresh cranberries, as the juicing process removes a lot of the goodness. The presscake, or the remaining material after juicing, was tested and found to hold the components that decrease tumours and breast cancer cells.

These components were also found to inhibit cancer in prostate, brain, lung and skin.

Adding fresh cranberries to salads, or other dishes, is helpful in the prevention of breast cancer, but also helpful would be dried cranberries, or 100% concentrated cranberry juice.

These delicious berries can also be helpful in preventing cataracts or macular degeneration.

Native Americans enjoyed cooked cranberries sweetened with honey. (Probably leading to cranberries being served with Turkey at Thanksgiving)

They also squeezed the juice to use as red dye, then used the remaining pulp as a poultice on wounds, to stop bleeding and close cuts. Certain compounds in cranberries have an antibiotic effect, too.

It is widely believed that it's not any single compound, but a mixture of certain ones that provide the health benefits in fruits. It appears that certain nutrients and components work together, one enhancing the abilities of another, or in other cases one helping the body to absorb another.

Which is to say that if you took a vitamin supplement, you may not get the same benefits as eating the fruit that contains that vitamin, as you need also some of the other nutrients to help it take effect.

Once again, an example of how "Mother Nature's Pharmacy" is better than any pills or supplements.


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