One of America’s most loved fruits, cranberries have numerous health benefits. Small, round and red in color, they belong to the same family of berries as blueberries, bilberries and lingonberries.

Cranberries are a rich source of polyphenols, chemical compounds that have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimutagen (prevents gene mutation), antioxidant, cancer and tumor-fighting properties.[1] These disease-fighting properties can be useful in preventing several diseases. Here’s why you should include cranberries in your daily diet.

1. Manage Diabetes
Rich in vitamin C, cranberry juice can reduce diabetes side effects such as nerve damage and low immunity, and improve the quality of life for diabetics. A study found that more than one-half of the subjects had good control of blood glucose levels after having a glass of cranberry juice daily.[2]

Anthocyanins present in cranberries also improve pancreatic β-cell response to blood glucose, thus improving blood sugar levels.[3] Animal studies have also found that cranberry powder or cranberry-derived flavonoids improve insulin sensitivity and lower sugar levels in models of diabetes mellitus.[4,5]

2. Prevent Heart Disease
Plant antioxidants (anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and quercetin) present in cranberries reduce arterial stiffness, blood pressure and hypertension.[6,7,8,9] Studies have found that cranberries increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduce risk of inflammation of blood vessels.[10,11,12,13]

3. Fight Urinary Tract Infection
The same plant compounds prevent E. coli bacteria from attaching to the bladder and urinary tract, the most common cause of urinary tract infections[14,15,16,17] Cranberries are the richest source of A-type proanthicyanidins and a number of studies suggest that this is the main reason for them to be so effective in reducing UTIs in both children and adults.[18,19,20,21,22,23]

4. Prevent Tooth Decay
Proanthocyanidine, a chemical compound in cranberries, stops harmful bacteria from clinging to the teeth. It also terminates acid production and protects the teeth from periodontal disease.[24,25]

5. Prevent Lung Inflammation
Nondialyzable material (NDM), a substance present in cranberries, prevents the influenza virus from attaching to the cells, thus reducing flu infections.[26,27]

6. Prevent Stomach Cancers & Ulcers
A-type proanthocyanidinsplant compounds in cranberries, prevent the Helicobacter pylori (a bacteria that causes stomach cancer, inflammation, and ulcers) from attaching to the stomach lining.[28,29,30,31,32,33]

A study suggests that drinking half a liter of cranberry juice daily can reduce H. pylori infections significantly.[34] Another study found that it suppressed the growth of H. pylori in 17 percent infected participants.[35]

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page and read about other Natural Remedies here.

Read More:
Relieve It With A Herb: Cranberries For Diabetes
Healthy Breakfast Recipes: Cranberry Sunflower Muesli
Cranberry Sauce: Antioxidant and Super Fruit!

 

References:
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2. Chambers BK, Camire ME. Can cranberry supplementation benefit adults with type 2 diabetes? Diabetes Care. 2003 Sep;26(9):2695-6. PubMed PMID: 12941742.

3. Zhu Y, Xia M, Yang Y, Liu F, Li Z, Hao Y, Mi M, Jin T, Ling W. Purified anthocyanin supplementation improves endothelial function via NO-cGMP activation in hypercholesterolemic individuals. Clin Chem. 2011 Nov;57(11):1524-33. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2011.167361. Epub 2011 Sep 16. PubMed PMID: 21926181.

4. Khanal RC, Rogers TJ, Wilkes SE, Howard LR, Prior RL. Effects of dietary consumption of cranberry powder on metabolic parameters in growing rats fed high fructose diets. Food Funct. 2010 Oct;1(1):116-23. doi: 10.1039/c0fo00089b. Epub 2010 Sep 22. PubMed PMID: 21776462.

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12. Ruel G, Pomerleau S, Couture P, Lemieux S, Lamarche B, Couillard C. Low-calorie cranberry juice supplementation reduces plasma oxidized LDL and cell adhesion molecule concentrations in men. Br J Nutr. 2008 Feb;99(2):352-9. Epub 2007 Aug 29. PubMed PMID: 17761017.

13. Simão TN, Lozovoy MA, Simão AN, Oliveira SR, Venturini D, Morimoto HK, Miglioranza LH, Dichi I. Reduced-energy cranberry juice increases folic acid and adiponectin and reduces homocysteine and oxidative stress in patients with the metabolic syndrome. Br J Nutr. 2013 Nov;110(10):1885-94. doi:10.1017/S0007114513001207. Epub 2013 Jun 11. PubMed PMID: 23750500.

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15. Howell AB, Reed JD, Krueger CG, Winterbottom R, Cunningham DG, Leahy M. A-type cranberry proanthocyanidins and uropathogenic bacterial anti-adhesion activity. Phytochemistry. 2005 Sep;66(18):2281-91. PubMed PMID: 16055161.

16. Gupta K, Chou MY, Howell A, Wobbe C, Grady R, Stapleton AE. Cranberry products inhibit adherence of p-fimbriated Escherichia coli to primary cultured bladder and vaginal epithelial cells. J Urol. 2007 Jun;177(6):2357-60. PubMed PMID: 17509358; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3684265.

17. Di Martino P, Agniel R, David K, Templer C, Gaillard JL, Denys P, Botto H. Reduction of Escherichia coli adherence to uroepithelial bladder cells after consumption of cranberry juice: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled cross-over trial. World J Urol. 2006 Feb;24(1):21-7. Epub 2006 Jan 6. PubMed PMID: 16397814.

18. Gu L, Kelm MA, Hammerstone JF, Beecher G, Holden J, Haytowitz D, Gebhardt S, Prior RL. Concentrations of proanthocyanidins in common foods and estimations of normal consumption. J Nutr. 2004 Mar;134(3):613-7. PubMed PMID: 14988456.

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Armed with a PhD in Alternative Medicine, a graduate degree in Biotechnology, an MSc, and an MBA in Clinical Research and Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Jonathan is a certified practitioner of Alternative Medicine and is actively involved in patient education initiatives. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Outsmart Diabetes. Dr Jonathan loves to share his passion for herbs and other alternative medicinal practices with others through his writing.