Cranberries, like blueberries, bilberries, and lingonberries, belong to the heather family. The cranberry bush is a North American native. These days, you may find them being cultivated on roughly 58,000 acres of land in the northern United States. Because of their abundant calorie and antioxidant levels, cranberries are often referred to as a “superfood.” Studies have shown that the nutrients found in cranberries can help reduce the likelihood of urinary tract infections (UTIs), protect against particular kinds of malignancy, boost the immune system, and possibly reduce blood pressure. Although cranberries are most commonly associated with the Thanksgiving holiday, they are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal, any time of the year. Water makes up over 90% of a cranberry’s composition, the remaining 10% being carbohydrates and fiber.
Vitamin C, E, K, and Manganese are just some of the micronutrients found in them. Fresh cranberries are not recommended due to their sour taste. Cranberries are most commonly found in juice form, but beware that many brands of cranberry juice also contain additional sugars. cranberries come in a variety of colors and sizes. Cranberries are rarely consumed in their raw form due to their extremely tart flavor. Sauces, dried cranberries, and nutritional pills and solvents all feature cranberries in some way. Many of the vitamins and plant components found in abundance in cranberries have been proven to be useful in the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs).
This essay discusses the adverse effects as well as the studies that suggest they may have health advantages.
What are the medical advantages of Cranberries?
The majority of medical professionals would advise their patients to have a diet that is rich in fresh produce. Cranberries are an excellent source of several different vitamins, as well as antioxidants. They have a long history of medicinal use. In the past, they were employed as a cure for bladder and kidney illnesses by Native Americans, whereas the first settlers from England utilized them for managing scurvy, uneasiness, gastrointestinal concerns, blood abnormalities, and other conditions. Cranberries have a long history of usage in folk medicine, particularly for the treatment of metabolic diseases and wounds, as well as conditions affecting the intestines, abdomen, and liver.
Following are the medical advantages of Cranberries
Combating Urinary Tract Infections
In the past, cranberries were used as a remedy for urinary tract infections. However, studies on the effectiveness of cranberries as a therapy for urinary tract infections have yielded mixed findings. One study from 2016 looked at the frequency with which medical experts recommend cranberries to treat recurrent UTIs in women. Taking a single pill of cranberry extract twice a day was proven to minimize the occurrence of UTIs in a 2014 trial involving 516 individuals. Cranberry juice may not have the same impact, but cranberry pills have been shown to possess a similar impact in a single investigation from 2015. This is due to a powerful dose of cranberry extract being required to effectively stop bacterial attachment. However, a 2019 investigation indicated that despite the widespread belief that cranberries prevent UTIs, this does not appear to be the case.
Lessening the likelihood of cardiovascular problems
Multiple risk factors for heart failure and stroke may be reduced if an individual includes cranberries in their diet, according to a 2019 meta-analysis. Among these is systolic blood pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle contracts. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), generally known as “good,” cholesterol, was found to increase after taking cranberry supplements, and the research also found that the pill contributed to lowering body mass index. Yet another research looked at 78 people who were either overweight or obese. The results showed that people who drank a low-calorie cranberry juice with a high quantity of plant chemicals once daily saw improvements in their blood sugar control, chemical markers of swelling, and HDL lipoprotein concentrations.
Stopping the spread of malignancy
A 2016 meta-analysis of 34 preclinical research found that cranberries or cranberry compounds had multiple favorable impacts on tumor cells in Petri dishes. Advantages include tumor cell death induction, malignant cell growth suppression, and discomfort attenuation. Many other systems that aid in the development and progression of cancer may also be affected by cranberries, according to the study. These results suggest hope for the forthcoming administration of various cancers in addition to current treatments, even though testing on patients with cancer is restricted.
Boosting People’s Smiles
Cranberries contain polyphenolic acids (PACs), which research suggests may be beneficial to dental health. The latest research published in 2019 suggests that the PACs that may be extracted from fruits such as cranberries could assist in safeguarding teeth against a type of bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
Anti-Inflammatory and Immune-Boosting Properties of Cranberries
Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and contributes to the production of collagen. As a result, it plays a crucial function in the health of the skin and joints as well as the general healing process. Cranberry-based products may be useful in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs), based on research that was released in the year 2020. Cranberries have been shown to reduce the capacity of bacteria in the urinary tract to adhere to the walls of the urinary tract. Another piece of research has come to the same conclusion that gum illness can be fought off naturally in the mouth as well.
Consuming Cranberries Reduces Antibiotic Resistance
Scientists in a new study chose the bacteria that cause UTIs, pneumonia, and gastroenteritis. Experts claim that antibiotic resistance arises when bacteria evolve to counteract the effects of drugs used to treat illness. The addition of cranberry extract, however, thwarted the bacteria’s attempts to adapt to the new treatment. The antibiotic can penetrate the bacteria’s cell membranes more easily after being exposed to cranberry extract. In addition, the scientists saw that the bacteria had a harder difficulty than usual producing the antibiotic. The findings were significant because excessive antibiotic use could render infections harder to manage.
What are the adverse effects of cranberries?
Patients on the blood-thinning medication warfarin (Jantaven) should talk to their physician before adding cranberries to their diet. In some cases, it may strengthen the anticlotting effects caused by warfarin, though there is conflicting data on this. Consuming goods made from cranberries may also increase oxalate excretion in the urine. In people who are prone to developing calcium oxalate stones, this may increase the likelihood of developing stones in their kidneys. Those who have experienced kidney stones in the past should consult a doctor before boosting their cranberry consumption.
Cranberries are generally well tolerated by those who consume them. However, consuming cranberries may increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Calcium oxalate is a typical component of kidney stones. Oxalate is abundant in cranberries. Vitamin K in cranberries may counteract the effects of blood-thinning drugs, so people who take these drugs should reduce their intake of cranberries. They are a good source of antioxidants and can be stored in the freezer or refrigerator for year-round health benefits.
High amounts of specific minerals in the urine might lead to the formation of kidney stones. It can be agonizing at times. A healthy diet can help you reduce your risk. High levels of oxalate in the urine are associated with an increased risk of developing kidney stones, which are typically composed of calcium oxalate. It’s possible that oxalates can be found in high concentrations in cranberries, particularly powerful cranberry extracts. This is why high consumption of certain foods is linked to an increased risk of kidney stones. Conflicting findings from human investigations highlight the need for additional investigation into this topic. Different people have different risk factors for acquiring kidney stones. Cranberries likely do not have much of an effect on the production of kidney stones in most persons.
How to incorporate them into your diet?
The greatest time to buy cranberries is in the fall when they are in season and readily available from farmers’ harvests in October and September. At other seasons of the year, you can find them dry, frozen, or canned. Ripe cranberries can be kept for later consumption in the refrigerator or frozen. Certain cranberry products, nevertheless, may have extra sugars added to them. This is why cranberries require a sweetener to be consumed by most people. One should always read the nutrition facts label and opt for an item with the fewest added sugars. It’s not uncommon for cranberry juice to have other fruit liquids and sugar added to it. The healthiest option for those seeking cranberry juice is one that lists the fruit itself as the first component.
While cranberry sauce has its place at the holiday table, this fruit may be enjoyed in many different forms throughout the year. Prepared cranberries in the form of juice or tea are widely available year-round and in most locations. However, their usefulness extends beyond the obvious. You may put the dried ones on salads, make juice out of the fresh ones, or even eat the raw ones. According to the Produce for Healthier Living Foundation, dried cranberries are higher in sugar and calorie intake than fresh ones because they have the same amount of sugar but less water. If you’re attempting to shed weight or control your diabetes, this is something to think about when deciding how much of a certain food you should consume.
The Bottom Line
Numerous minerals and antioxidants can be found in cranberries. Potential medical advantages include aiding with dental hygiene, warding off urinary tract infections, and perhaps assisting with cancer treatment. While the majority of individuals can safely increase their cranberry intake without consequence, those who are pregnant or using blood thinners ought to speak with their physician before doing so.
Raw forms of these foods can be beneficial to health. But if you’re receiving your cranberry fix from juice or dried cranberries, you should know that both contain a lot of sugar. About 25 grams of added sugar can be found in a single serving of dried cranberries. That’s the daily maximum allowable amount of added sugar for certain individuals. They require that sugary flavor to make them more agreeable. However, that is no reason to cut out cranberry products altogether. You should merely be mindful of how much sugar you consume and combine cranberries with lower-sugar options. If you want to make your trail mix but don’t want to buy it, you can make it with gently peppered roasted nuts and cranberries that have been dried instead of the candy bits. Dried cranberries are a great alternative to honey when combined with plain yogurt or cereal.
Dried cranberries, cranberry juice, and dietary supplements all enjoy widespread popularity. They’re high in a few essential nutrients and have their special plant chemicals. It’s possible that these substances can help avoid UTIs, tumors in the stomach, and cardiovascular illness. Possible beneficial effects of consuming cranberries in different forms range from warding off urinary tract infections (UTIs) to lowering cholesterol and improving cardiovascular wellness. They are an excellent complement to salads, baked foods, and they look fantastic on any holiday table.