Cranberries are best referred to as the group of dwarf shrubs or vines, which are mostly located in the Northern Hemisphere. Did you know that the fruit of cranberry is bigger than the leaves of the plant? Another surprising fact is that the fruits are first white, but turn red when they become ripe. The cranberries are a favorite commercial crop in many of the American States as well as Canadian provinces. They are widely used for commercial products like jam, sauce, juice, and so on.
The juice prepared from the organic fruits is dark red and not sweet. Doctors recommend using the purest form of juice to avail its maximum benefits. Pure cranberry juice offers a myriad of health and beauty benefits because of its high nutritional value. Let us look at some health benefits of cranberry and its juice and how we can include them in our daily health regime.
The native medicinal history in this article for cranberry plants dates back to the American Indians. They used cranberries to:
~ Quell and withdraw poison from wounds
~ Maintain nerve balance, and
In the Latin world, this plant is also known as Vaccinium macrocarpon and is believed to be a native of North America.
Cranberries have the highest number of antioxidants. These components are important as they can combat free radicals, which can cause harm to cellular structures. Due to their rich nutrients, and digestion-aiding enzymes, consuming them raw can give you utmost benefits. Given the various medicinal benefits, Asians, and Mediterranean people have been long using this fruit not only as food but also for digestion.
It is well known that cranberry has immune boosting components such as Vitamin C, but it is phytonutrients that have caught the eye of medical researchers. Cranberries are a rich source of:
- Ursolic acid (triterpenoids)
- Flavonoids (myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol)
- Anthocyanins (peonodin, malvidin, cyanidin)
- Phenolic acids like hydroxycinnamic acids (cinnamic, ferulic, coumaric and caffeic), and
- Hydroxybenzoic acids (vanillic acids)
Cranberries are highly nutritious during cleansing or fruit diet period, as it has 87 grams of water per 100 grams. If you look at the minerals, you can find traces of iron, sodium, zinc, potassium, magnesium and calcium. In vitamins, you have vitamin-E, B-6, niacin, riboflavin, Vitamin K.
Cranberry juice treats inflammation of the cardiovascular system, digestive tract (mouth and gums, colon, stomach). The components to make a mark in these benefits are already discussed in the earlier paragraph. They are anthocyanins, quercetin, and phenolic acids.
If you suffer from oxidative stress or chronic inflammation, the blood vessel walls are at great risk. The risk of atherosclerosis (thickening of blood vessel walls and blocking of these vessels) is greatly increased. The two enzymes responsible for these conditions are:
- iNOS (nitric oxide synthase) and
- COX-2 (cyclooxygenase 2)
The phytonutrients in cranberries prevent activation of these enzymes. These properties make cranberry juice an amazing drink as they offer cardiovascular protection. The other antioxidants, which make a mark in the benefits of the cardiovascular system are piceatannol, pterostilbene, and resveratrol.
9 Best Health Benefits Of Cranberry Juice
Now Let us look into the benefits:
1. Anti-Cancer Benefits
Research on the anti-cancer properties of cranberry has been on for more than a decade. Every year, scientists have unearthed new mechanisms, which have established these fruits as perfect agents for the treatment of cancer. Research is still carried out with full vigor regarding the cancers of the lung, colon, breast and prostate cancer.
2. Anti-tumor Effects
The positive effects of this juice are a reduction in inflammation, prevention of blood clots, and non-formation of tumors mainly because of the presence of salicylic acid.
3. Digestive Tract Benefits
The above mentioned titles must have given you enough information to believe that cranberry juice can also be used for digestive tract benefits. The proanthocyanidins can prevent the bacterium (Helicobacter pylori ) from getting attached to the walls, thus preventing stomach ulcers. The other medical components such as anthocyanins, triterpenoids, and flavonoids provide the components that assist in reducing symptoms of colon cancer and other ailments such as periodontal diseases.
There are also other benefits of cranberry concerning digestion. The bacterial number is kept balanced in the digestive tract. The number of friendly bacteria such as Bifidobacteria is taken to a high, and the conditions are made more favorable for digestion.
4. Tooth Health
The proanthocyanidins present in cranberries assists in perfect dental health. The mentioned component prevents the harmful bacteria from making a harmful effect on the teeth. The acid production is curtailed, and the growth of plaque is prevented. But, to be kept in mind is the high amount of sugar present in the juice (in case it is mixed with other sweet fruit juice).
5. Boosts Immunity
The Haemophilus influenza bacteria are neutralized, thus saving children from respiratory and ear infections when given a regular proper dose of cranberry juice. The hair-like structures of the bacteria are nullified, thus preventing from adhering to the skin surface.
The presence of Vitamin C prevents the body from acquiring simple diseases such as cold, cough; deficiency of this vitamin can result in the disease called as scurvy. The vitamin is also vital for the human body to prepare collagen (which assists in the normal functioning of tissues).
6. Avoid Respiratory Infections
According to conducted studies, cranberry juice helps to inhibit certain strains of the Haemophilus influenza, which is a common cause of ear and respiratory infections in children. The juice inhibits the bacteria’s hair-like structures, inhibiting them from adhering to the surface of the skin. The medicinal component, nondialysable material (NDM) inhibits the influenza virus and prevents any flu infection.
7. Strong Bones and Teeth
Cranberry juice contains sufficient amount of calcium to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.
8. Anti-Aging Benefits
The antioxidants and phytonutrients also act on the brain displaying a positive note when confronted with problems of aging such as memory loss and improper coordination between the body parts. The antioxidants eliminate the free radicals thus saving you the cost of applying natural products for wrinkles.
When mixed with honey and applied to the oily skin, a gentle massage can exfoliate the dead skin, the sebaceous glands are unclogged, and the formation is sebum is put on hold. You can wash the face off with warm water. The mentioned mixture is one of the best toners for the skin.
Vitamin C, present in cranberries, is needed for the production of hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline, both amino acids for the collagen content in the body. This component, collagen assists the blood vessels in the skin to carry the important nutrients and oxygen, thus softening the skin and making it look lustrous. Application and ingestion of this juice can make your skin soft even during the winter season.
You can make a paste of cranberry juice, orange peel powder, and honey, and apply on the face. A gentle wash with water after thirty minutes might reduce acne and pimples. It can give the skin a lighter tone. The medicinal component to be taken into account is resveratrol.
9. Maintains Strong & Long Hair
Similar to Vitamin C, cranberry juice also has vitamin A, which is necessary for long healthy hair. Hair loss is prevented and the promotion of healthy hair gets a boost on regular dosage consumption of cranberry juice. You can also topically apply the juice on hair and then follow the required wash.
Although cranberry has numerous benefits, it is better to seek the advice of a doctor if you are having a kidney stone problem or taking medications such as warfarin (interactions might happen and cause excessive bleeding). Similar to aspirin, cranberry juice also contains salicylic acid. Aspirin is a blood thinner, and the two can make a harmful combination for the body.
- Drinking more cranberry juice can make the body produce tough, oxalate stones which might give rise to kidney problems.
- Persons having a history of diabetes and other stomach problems may experience diarrhea and rise in blood sugar levels.
Cranberry Juice And UTI
There are many myths and home remedies about the urinary tract infection of women and children, but let us think prospectively:
It is true that more than sixty percent of the women can experience this common ailment. However, since two decades a concept was widely circulated that cranberry juice might prevent and treat the UTIs. The popular notion was the components of cranberry can make the urine more acidic and may make conditions unfavorable for bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E.coli). Recent medicinal research has shown mixed results. The positive healing part cannot work for everyone. It has to be noted, however, that the juice makes the bacteria unfavorable to hold on the intestinal wall. The cranberry juice might prevent the infection. However, it does not boost the body to prevent the recurrence of another one.
It has to be noted that cranberry juice can reduce to a low extent the UTIs. In case you have already been infected with UTI, kindly have a consultation with the naturopathy physician before selecting cranberry juice as a form of treatment.