Let’s be honest: Do you ever think about cranberries outside of the week of Thanksgiving? Maybe you toss a few “craisins” in your salad when you’re feeling fancy.
Then again, if we talk about cranberry juice, ladies may think about this more often because they’ve heard it’s good for bladder or urinary tract infections. Otherwise, cranberry juice more commonly appears in alcoholic drinks and cocktails, or mixed with vodka rather than something we drink regularly.
That’s really too bad, because it’s got so much to offer. A cousin to the blueberry, (and a native to North America) cranberries provide vitamin E, and K, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and zinc. It also contains vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6.
They’re rich in antioxidants and deliver over two dozen antioxidant phytonutrients. Some studies indicate that they actually to raise the overall antioxidant capacity in our bloodstream! Now, that’s great news to anyone suffering from oxidative stress — which is pretty much all of us.
Here’s 4 Reasons Why Cranberry Juice Should Become a Part of Your Weekly Diet
1) Cranberries appear to improve Metabolic Syndrome (MetS).
Almost a third of all adults in the US experience some symptoms or affects of the conditions known as Metabolic Syndrome (MetS), which isn’t a chronic disease in itself, but it’s an indicator other diseases: in particular type 2 diabetes and a plethora of cardiovascular diseases. Yet, because of cranberry’s interlinking series of phytonutrients and unique proteins, it appears to lowers fasting blood sugar, triglycerides, and even increases body levels of adiponectin – which is a hormone responsible for decreased insulin and a drop in body fat.
Magic fact-For these studies it was merely 2 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice over a period of 8–12 weeks!
Unfortunately, most people can’t stand the tartness of straight cranberry anything. Sweetening with apple juice or straight up sugar negates most of the natural healing properties of the cranberry. Sweetened juices, like commercial cranberry juice contains nearly 30g of added sugar cup. And dried cranberries (also sweetened) contain about 8g of sugar per tablespoon of cranberry, and sugar is linked to MetS.
2) Cranberry’s Vitamin C Factor
Cranberry juice is high in ascorbic acid (aka FDA vitamin C ) which decreases inflammation in the body and helps to support the creation and repair of good-looking skin and healthy collagen stores.
Interestingly, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that vitamin C may effectively reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, a condition associated with high blood pressure and increased amounts of protein in the urine of pregnant women. So, if you or a friend is expecting, cranberry juice might helpful both for its vitamin C benefits and because it the chasing off invasive bacteria.
3) Did you know nearly 80% of the US population is dealing with pronounced or indirect health issues for to an H. Pylori infection? In addition to causing peptic ulcers, an H. pylori infection also leads to gastric cancer, autoimmunity issues, IBS, and more. Think about that: drinking cranberry juice may help prevent this type of cancer since it helps stop those infections from occurring. That’s a pretty astounding reason to drink cranberry juice!
4) Cranberry May Help Your Smile
These bright-red berries keep your mouth and teeth healthy as well! As an anti-inflammatory, these berries support gum health by reducing irritation and infection. They contain proanthocyanidine which prevents the formation of plaque on the teeth and so may help prevent periodontal disease.
That said: Cranberry juice is very acidic (and acids can eat-up tooth enamel), so find a balance especially when trying to help your teeth.
Here’s Where YOU Can Help, Dear Reader . . . become a health detective
For two years, I’ve scoured the internet seeking sources that can back up the health and benefit claims of fruits, vegetables, and supplements (sometimes called “boost”).
In the chart below are the health claims I and others have discovered about cranberries. Where you see a footnote, you’ll find a link to the source. If there is not a footnote, then that means that the specific health claim is made, but neither I or anyone I know has been able to locate sources of research or anecdote to backup the claim.
So, if you are aware of a direct source of research or anecdotes to back up the claims, please post them in the comments. I’ll check them out and if they meet our standards, I’ll make sure that they’re included in the next edition of the blog and give you a shout-out!
Reported Health Benefit Claims of Cranberries:
|Prevents anemia||Improves eyesight|
|Anti-aging||Prevents kidney stones|
|Prevents atherosclerosis||Promotes healthy skin|
|Prevents some forms of cancer||Prevents stomach ulcers|
|Improves cardiovascular system||Prevents venous disorders|
|Lowers cholesterol||Prevents urinary tract infections|
|Improves immune system|
Cranberry bushes generally take about 16 months to fully mature. They are typically planted in spring or summer, they are left to go dormant in winter, and then resume growth during the following spring and harvested in early autumn.
So, the next time you’re at your local juice bar, ask for a little “cranberry boost” and watch how your barista looks at you, then just smile.