Cranberries are a popular superfood. Cranberries are native to North America. They now grow on around 58,000 acres of farmland across the Northern United States, Chile, and Canada.
Many people consider Cranberries to be a superfood due to high nutrients and antioxidants content.
In fact, research has linked the nutrients in Cranberries to a lower risk of urinary tract infection (UTI), the prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure.
The health benefits of Cranberries, their nutritional breakdown, and how people can incorporate them into a healthiest diet. This feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CRANBERRIES
All health and nutrition experts recommend a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Cranberries in particular offer a range of health benefits. They are a good source of various vitamins and antioxidants.
Historically, Native Americans used Cranberries as a treatment for bladder and kidney diseases, while Early settlers from England used them to treat poor appetite, stomach complaints, blood disorders, and scurvy.
Nowadays, The Benefits of Cranberries Include the Following:
■ MANAGING UTIs
Cranberries played a role in traditional treatments for UTIs.
However, research into the effects of Cranberries on UTI treatment has produced some conflicting results.
For example, one 2016 review found that medical professionals most commonly recommend Cranberries for women with recurrent UTIs.
Also, a 2014 study of 516 participants found that taking a capsule of cranberry extract twice per day reduced the incidence of UTIs.
The high level of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs) in Cranberries helps prevent certain bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. In this way, the PACs in Cranberries help prevent infection.
However, in one 2015 study, researchers found that although cranberry capsules can achieve this, cranberry juice is unlikely to have the same effect.
This is because it takes a high concentration of the cranberry extract to prevent bacteria adhesion. Commercially available cranberry juices do not contain such high amounts of PACs.
Meanwhile, one 2019 study found that although Cranberries did not seem to get rid of the bacteria that give rise to UTIs, combining cranberry extract with acrylic acid derived from coconut oil and oregano essential oil extract led to eradication of the most common bacteria, Escherichia coli.
■ REDUCING THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Some evidence suggests that the polyphenols contained in Cranberries may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
A 2019 systematic review found that supplementing Cranberries in the diet can help a person manage several risk factors for CVD. These include systolic blood pressure. Which is the blood pressure during a contraction of the heart muscle.
The review also found that cranberry supplementation helped reduce body mass index (BMI) and improve levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol.
A different study examined 78 participants who had overweight or obesity. It revealed that consuming a single dose of a low calorie Cranberry beverage with a high content of plant compounds every day improved a person’s regulation of blood sugar, chemical signs of inflammation, and increased levels of HDL lipoprotein.
■ SLOWING CANCER PROGRESSION
A 2016 review of 34 preclinical studies revealed that Cranberries or compounds in Cranberries had several beneficial effects on cancer cells in test-tube.
●triggering the death of cancer cells
●slowing the growth of cancer cells
The review also suggests that Cranberries can affect several other mechanisms that promote cancer growth and spread.
Although testing on humans with cancer is limited, these findings show promise for the future management of some cancers alongside standard treatments.
■ ENHANCING ORAL HEALTH
The PACs contained in Cranberries may also benefit oral health. They do this by preventing bacteria from binding to the surface of teeth, according to researchers at the Center for Oral Biology and Easman Department of Dentistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.
Cranberries may also be beneficial in preventing gum disease.
One half cup of chopped cranberries contains:
●0.25 grams (g) of protein
●0.07 g of fat
●6.6 g of carbohydrate, including 2.35 g of natural sugar
●2 g of fiber
●4.4 milligrams (mg) of calcium
●0.12 mg of iron
●3.3 mg of magnesium
●6 mg of phosphorus
●44 mg of potassium
●1.1 mg of sodium
●0.05 mg of zinc
●7.7 mg of vitamin C
●0.5 microgram (mcg) of folate DFE
●35 International units of vitamin A
●0.72 mg of vitamin E
●2.75 mcg of vitamin K
Cranberries also contain a range of vital B vitamins, including:
●vitamin B-1 (thiamin)
●vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)
●vitamin B-3 (niacin)
There are also a good source of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a powerful, natural antioxidant. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Vitamin C can:
●block some of the damage cause by disease-causing free radicals
●improve iron absorption from plant sources
●boost the immune system
●support collagen production for wound healing
A higher fiber intake can also help a person reduce their risk of developing a range of health conditions, including:
●coronary heart disease
●certain gastrointestinal conditions
Increased fiber intake can also bring down blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance weight loss for people with obesity.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that plays a role in immune function. It may help a person prevent or delay the chronic conditions associated with free radicals, such as: