Cranberries have wonderful health benefits. The most commonly known benefit of cranberries is their power to prevent urinary tract infections. Studies done at Maryland University and Rutgers University have proved the wonders of cranberries. The reason that cranberries prevent rather than treat UTIs comes from the oligomeric proanthocyanidins in the berry (PubMed.gov, 2000). These antioxidant components cause the production of enzymes in the urine that prevent the bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract. Once the bacteria are attached cranberries have little benefit (Urology Health Specialists, LLC, 2016).
Cranberry benefits go beyond the prevention of UTIs, however. Cranberries are also credited for their ability to fight a variety of cancers due to their antioxidant characteristic that comes from the phenolic acid content. Cranberries are known to prevent breast and ovarian cancer, colon, prostate, and lung cancers. Cranberries can also help to prevent an enlarged prostate in men. Cranberries can also help to lower the triglyceride level and thus prevent cardiovascular disease. In a study involving men and women, those who consumed the cranberry juice daily had more of a decrease in their triglycerides than those who consumed the placebo drink (Clark, Chelsea, 2016).
Cranberries can also help to prevent and recover from stomach issues including ulcers, blood disorders, Vitamin C deficiency, and viruses. There are many forms in which cranberry can be consumed: juice, fresh/frozen, and dried. Add dried cranberries to a salad, make cranberry relish like you see at Thanksgiving (United States) and Christmas. You can also make a smoothie out of the berries and/or the juice! (Ehrlich, Steven, 2015).
Go easy if you are just starting out. Cranberries are tart and acidic. Because cranberries can interfere with the efficiency of some medication you will want to check with your doctor before consuming cranberries when you are on a medication. Also, those who are allergic, sensitive or intolerant of cranberries should not consume cranberry products without the supervision of a healthcare provider (Ehrlich, Steven, 2015).
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