Cranberries are small acidic berries which are rich in nutrients and antioxidant properties. Cranberries can be processed into powder, candies, sauce, jam, and juice.
The juice of cranberry is usually dark-red and in its purest form, 100% free of preservative, with no added color or flavor. The juice has a very strong and tart taste and is generally consumed after diluting with water. This is why medical doctors typically recommend the unsweetened variety of cranberry juice.
The juice is a good source of vitamins (Riboflavin, Niacin, B6, C, E, K), iron, magnesium, zinc, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, and antioxidants (tannins, flavonoids, quercetin, cyanidin, and, anthocyanin). The antioxidants in cranberry juice help to slow down and prevent the oxidation process by stabilizing the activity of free radicals. Flavonoids and polyphenols present in the juice also help to prevent the damage of cells, thereby, lowering the risk of infections.
Health Benefits of Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice provides a host of health benefits due to its high nutritional value. Now, let’s take a look at how cranberries are beneficial for us and why we should incorporate them into our health routine.
Boosts the Immunity System
Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals which promote a healthy immune system. This means that the juice of cranberry can reduce the risk of age-related problems such as memory loss.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Cranberry juice helps to lower the risk of developing heart-related health conditions. The flavonoids and antioxidants found in cranberries prevent atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries get constricted because of the build-up of fat in them. This stalls the transportation of oxygen-rich blood to the organs of the body, which can result in heart attack or stroke. Antioxidants help to suppress the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein and promote the formation of blood platelets.
Prevents Urinary Tract Infections
When the microorganisms in the urine are beyond the acceptable limit, it causes urinary tract infections. Luckily, studies have found that cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections.
The proanthocyanidins present in cranberry juice stops the bacteria from multiplying and binding to the cells of the bladder walls. These compounds flush eliminates them from the body via urine. The juice makes the urine more acidic, thus making it difficult for the infection-causing bacteria to survive. Drinking cranberry juice regularly can even prevent recurring tract infections in pregnant women as well.
Relieves Discomfort Caused by Ulcers
The flavonoid content of cranberry juice lowers the risk of developing stomach disorders such as peptic ulcer. It does this by preventing the growth of the bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori that causes infection in the stomach.
Aids in Weight Loss
Cranberry juice has an emulsifying effect on the fat deposits in the body which, in turn, help in facilitating weight loss. With its rich fiber content, it can help a person feel full for a longer period of time
Possess Anti-cancer Properties
The polyphenol compound found in cranberry juice possesses anti-tumor abilities. Regular consumption of cranberry juice then prevents the development and spread of colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancers. Also, the salicylic acid in the juice can reduce inflammation and prevent the formation of blood clots which can cause tumors.
Prevents Kidney Stones
The calcium found in cranberry juice fortifies the teeth and bones, thereby lowering the risk of developing osteoporosis. It also possesses quinic acid which is beneficial in inhibiting the formation of kidney stones.
Treats Tooth Decay
Cranberry juice is also effective for preventing tooth decay. The compound proanthocyanidin prevents the growth of bacteria that lead to plaque and cavities. In fact, unsweetened cranberry juice lowers the risk of the bacteria in the mouth and fights off bad breath.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cranberry juice are very effective in treating inflammation, especially lung inflammation, brought on by the influenza virus.
Cranberry juice is also effective in treating infections like sore throat, cold, and flu. It also relaxes the respiratory tract and prevents the growth of various strains of Haemophilus influenza which commonly lead to respiratory and ear infections in children. According to some studies, cranberry juice can also protect the brain against neurological damage and other brain-related ailments.
Cranberry juice is extremely rich in vitamin C, making it essential for the production of collagen in the body. This is beneficial for the healthy functioning of the tissues and in preventing the occurrence of scurvy.
Inhibits Yeast Infection
Cranberries are also known to cure yeast infection, which is caused by an overgrowth of naturally-occurring bacteria in the body. There are bacteria that cling to the walls of the mouth, intestines or urinary tract but cranberry juice can render them ineffective. Cranberry juice eliminates yeast and other excess fungi from the body.
Beneficial for the Skin
Cranberry juice offers a wide range of benefits to the skin as it regenerates and moisturizes the skin. It treats wrinkles and makes the skin glow. Its rich concentration of antioxidants, vitamins C, B3 and B5 supports the turnover of cells.
The free radicals present in the environment are primarily the reason for the formation of redness, wrinkles, fine lines, and pigmentation on the skin. Antioxidants in cranberry juice fight these free radicals by reducing the damage caused and slowing down the aging process. The acidic nature of cranberry juice also helps people with oily skin by exfoliating dead skin and unclogging the sebaceous glands.
This juice offers protection against the harsh weather conditions, keeping the skin smooth and supple. The antiseptic properties of this juice also help to treat acne and boils on the skin. Since it is rich in resveratrol, it is very effective in reducing acne and pimples.
Promotes Hair Health
Vitamins A and C present in cranberry juice help to promote the growth of healthy hair. Regular consumption of cranberry juice prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth. The antiseptic and antifungal properties of cranberry juice prevent psoriasis, dandruff, and other scalp-related issues when applied topically. Cranberry juice also helps to combat alopecia.
Side Effects of Cranberry Juice
- While there are several benefits of cranberry juice, it should be consumed in moderate amounts.
- It is also important to understand that cranberry juice is not a cure for every ailment related to the urinary system.
- Diabetics and people suffering from stomach problems should drink cranberry juice with caution. Too much of this juice can result in diarrhea, an upset stomach, and high blood sugar levels.
- Excess consumption of cranberry juice can result in the wearing of the teeth enamel.
If you are suffering from interstitial cystitis, then you must avoid cranberry juice as it damages the lining of the bladder.
- Cranberry juice may also interfere with certain medication, particularly heart medicines. When used in combination with cranberry juice, heart medicines can cause internal bleeding and even death.
- If you are under medication for heat-related ailments, you should consult a doctor before including cranberry juice in your daily diet.
Evidently, cranberry juice is amazing as its health benefits can be enjoyed by both the old and young alike. Plus it has a sweet taste! However, it is advisable to check with a doctor about the permissible dosage of the juice.