Native to North America, cranberries are much higher in antioxidants than superfoods like broccoli or spinach, and you only need to consume relatively small amounts of them to gain the nutritional benefits.
From urinary tract infections to stomach ulcers, there are a number of health issues that can be either prevented or treated with cranberries. Fresh cranberries bring the best health benefits, followed by dried cranberries. Juice has the least, and it’s important that you buy ‘real’ cranberry juice as opposed to anything marketed as a ‘fruit drink’. These have very little real cranberry juice and plenty of added sugar and preservatives. Without further ado, here are six ways these little berries are fantastic for your health.
1. Reduce your risk of cancer.
Research that has shown the effectiveness of cranberries when it comes to inhibiting growth and spread of several types of tumors. This included breast, colon, prostate, and lung tumors, and although the studies haven’t yet been conclusive, early theories suggest that this tumor inhibition could be due to the flavonols and anthocyanin glycosides in cranberries, or it could be due to the salicylic acid which can have anti-tumor effects.
2. They have an anti-aging effect.
This all comes back down to their sky-high antioxidant levels. Essentially, antioxidants protect our cells from free radicals which accelerate the aging process. But this isn’t just about vanity: those same free radicals can lead to the development of degenerative diseases and age-related issues of the heart and the brain. Cranberry extract may help to combat memory loss and keep our brains healthier.
3. Help your heart
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, which showed that people who drank a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice a day increased their good cholesterol by approximately 10 percent. A study by the Mayo Clinic found that cranberry juice may protect against the hardening of the arteries. Medical News Today also explains that the polyphenols in cranberries may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure via anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
4. Fight urinary tract infections
People all over the world drink cranberry juice to treat UTIs. It was once thought that cranberries made the urine too acidic to support bacteria, but now it is believed that the chemicals in cranberries keep bacteria from sticking to the cells that line the urinary tract. This is where they would usually stick and multiply, causing an infection, but instead cranberry juice lets them pass through in our urine, and out of our bodies. However, cranberry juice does not seem to have the ability to release bacteria that has already stuck there.
5. Fight inflammation
Cranberries have an anti-inflammatory effect which can benefit conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, stomach, and digestive disorders