Don’t exile cranberries to the holiday relish plate—enjoy
them year-round as juice, a dried snack fruit, and a tasty
toss-in for cereals, muffins, and other baked goods.
Cranberries belong to the same family as blueberries, and
like them, are packed to the brim with antioxidants. As
a home remedy, you can rely on cranberry juice to fight
rooted in history
If ever there was an all-American fruit, it’s the cranberry. Native
Americans cooked them and ate them sweetened with honey and maple
syrup, a dish that certainly could have been served at the Pilgrim’s
first Thanksgiving dinner. Healers used them medicinally in
poultices for wounds, and it probably was fairly effective.
Cranberries are rich in tannins, which would have helped stop
bleeding, and they contain compounds with antibiotic effects that
would have prevented wounds from becoming infected.
what’s in it?
Cranberries contain antioxidants, some of which come from
proanthocyanidins (which give the berries their vivid color). These
neutralize the particles in the body called free radicals. Like tiny
Pac-Man characters, free radicals careen through the body and damage
cell membranes and DNA— and can even cause cell death. Eating a
variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables ensures that you
get a broad spectrum of antioxidants, which cut your risks for
developing a host of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart
disease, and diabetes.
what science says
Studies have shown that drinking cranberry juice regularly can
decrease the number of urinary tract infections in women who are
prone to them, by inhibiting the ability of the F. coli bacteria to
adhere to bladder walls. Interestingly, a study conducted at Harvard
Medical School showed that eating a 1.5-ounce serving of sweetened
dried cranberries might also be able to inhibit bacterial adherence
and could potentially also help prevent UTIs.
top remedy for bladder problems
Cranberry juice has long been used as a home remedy for cystitis and
to prevent kidney and bladder stones. Originally, this benefit was
attributed to quinic acid, a cranberry substance that increases
urine acidity and prevents the formation of calcium stones.
Researchers thought that this acidity helped prevent cystitis.
Studies show, however, that cranberries also contain a natural
antibiotic substance that makes the bladder walls inhospitable to
the organisms responsible for urinary tract infections. This
prevents the bacteria from forming colonies; instead, they are
washed out of the body in the urine. (Blueberry juice has a similar
Most commercial cranberry juice is too diluted to
be effective n preventing or treating urinary tract infections, It
also contains large amounts of sugar or other sweeteners. Use a
juicer to make your own cranberry juice. To reduce the amount of
sugar needed, dilute a cup of freshly squeezed juice with 2 to 3
cups of apple juice. then sweeten to taste if necessary. You can buy
organic, unsweetened cranberry juice in health food stores. Mix a
little with club soda for a tart, refreshing drink.
good to know
Alas, the majority of cranberry juice products on
a grocery store shelf are actually ‘cocktail” blends that contain
precious few cranberries and more sweeteners than in soda. To get
the health benefits of cranberries, get 100 percent pure cranberry