Cranberry juice offers an array of health benefits. Cranberries are native to North America. They have a huge antioxidant capacity when compared to other fruits and vegetables. At only 45 calories per cup, the juice provides energy, protein, carbohydrates and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and zinc. In addition to vitamin C, it includes thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, E (alpha tocopherol) and vitamin K.
Here is a breakdown of some of the health benefits of cranberries:
Urinary tract Infections (UTI): Urinary tract infections occur when certain micro-organisms in the urine exceed normal levels. The infections can grow in the bladder, and cause cystitis and other problems. The compounds in cranberry juice prevent these bacteria from multiplying, and flush them out of the body. Studies show it is best to take cranberry juice as a preventative. Once you have a UTI, see a physician.
Antitumor Effects: The polyphenolic compounds in cranberry juice help prevent tumors. Studies have suggested drinking cranberry juice regularly can inhibit the development and the spread of tumors in the lungs, breast, colon, prostate and other areas of the body.
Cardiovascular Health: Cranberry juice contains flavonoids whose antioxidant properties are believed to decrease the possibility of cardiovascular disease such as atherosclerosis.
Tooth Decay: The chemical compound Proanthocyanidine, which is present in cranberries, prevents harmful bacteria from clinging to teeth. This prevents acid production and protects from plaque formation as well as periodontal disease. Of course, you will want to drink the natural juice, not the variety that is loaded with sugar.
Avoid Respiratory Infections: Studies show cranberry juice helps to inhibit some strains of the Haemophilus influenza, a common cause of ear and respirator infections, particularly in children.
Strengthens Bones and Teeth: Cranberry juice is a natural source of calcium, which reduces the risk of getting osteoporosis.
Cures Cold: Fresh cranberry juice fights infections, and can cure sore throats and colds.
Fights Obesity: The organic acids present in cranberry juice emulsify the fat deposits in the body.
Prevents Kidney Stones: The high level of acid components in cranberry juice prevents the formation of kidney stone.
Peptic ulcers: Cranberry juice inhibits the growth of H. pylon bacteria, which causes peptic ulcers.
Scurvy: The high level of vitamin C in cranberry juice prevents scurvy, which is caused by a deficiency in the vitamin.
Lung inflammation: Cranberry juice has anti-inflammatory properties that fight inflammation in the lungs caused by influenza.
Anti-Aging Benefits: USDA scientists say the phytonutrients and antioxidants present in cranberries help prevent memory loss and other problems related to aging.
There are a few cautions to observe:
Warfarin (Coumadin): Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug that is used as a blood thinner. People who take warfarin should not consume cranberries.
Aspirin: Cranberries contain a substantial amoung of salicylic acid, which is the active ingredient in aspirin. If you take aspirin, avoid cranberries.
Kidney stones: Cranberry extracts are high in oxalate and calcium, and should not be taken by people who have or are known to be at risk of kidney stones.
For health purposes, it is best to use unsweetened cranberry juice. Dilute two ounces of the juice in eight ounces of water.