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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Fruits >>  Cranberries


Cranberry is a Native American berry which is very tart and bright red in color. It is a cousin of blueberry found growing wild as shrub, but on cultivation it grows on low trailing vines. Fresh berries are available at its peak with high nutrient content from October to December, however cranberry juice is available throughout the year to protect a person from various health conditions.

Health and cranberries

  1. Cranberries have been valued fro more than hundred years for its ability to reduce the risk of Urinary Track Infections (UTI). Studies conform that 16 ounces or 2 cup of cranberry juice taken daily has the ability to treat and prevent UTI.
    Cranberry contains a compound called hippuric acid which acidifies the urine; it also contains other compounds that reduce the ability of E. coli bacteria to stick to the walls of urinary tract. In this process E. coli bacteria which is responsible for 80-90% of UTI is washed away in the urine and voided. Cranberries helps to maintain urinary tract health and have a unique bacterial anti-adhesion activity and this can be attributed to the cranberry's proanthocyanidins which are structurally different from the proanthocyanidins found in the other plant sources.
  2. Cranberry juice has a protective effect against bladder infections that is thought to be due to a specific type of tannin that interferes with projections on the bacterium and prevents it from adhering to the walls of the bladder. However it is wise to seek a medical advice once the bacteria catches hold of the infection as it can further spread and cause kidney infection and no study proves that cranberry juice alone is able to treat the infection.
  3. Proanthocyanidin A-1 an antiviral compound in cranberries has found to combat herpes simplex virus (HSV-2), responsible for causing genital herpes. This compound helps to prevent and inhibits the attachment and penetration of the herpes virus thus preventing genital herpes.
  4. Cranberry is considered as a pro-biotic for gastrointestinal and oral health as the majority of infections are caused due to adhesion of pathogenic organisms to the tissues of the host and cranberries has the ability to block or hinder this adherence and thus avoid an infection.
  5. Quinic acid, an acidic compound present in cranberries is excreted unchanged from the body via urine. This causes the urine to become slightly acidic which is sufficient to prevent calcium and phosphate ions from clubbing together to form insoluble kidney stones. Thus cranberries have a protective effect on kidneys by preventing kidney stone formation.
  6. Antioxidants present in cranberries help to prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol and decrease the levels of total and LDL cholesterol and increase the cardio protective HDL cholesterol in the body. Cranberries also help to restore and improve blood vessel function and thus protects against atherosclerosis, heart attacks and stroke.
Submitted on February 24, 2009