Major Benefits of Eating Cranberries
The health benefits of cranberries have been studied by scientists for many years.
One of the now best known benefits of cranberry juice is for the prevention and relief of urinary tract infections, but many other possibilities exist, including acting as a digestive aid for removing fat in your lymphatic system.
Eradicate E. coli
Help prevent strokes
Research on pigs with a genetic predisposition to atherosclerosis--narrow, hardened arteries that may lead to heart attack and stroke--found that those fed dried cranberries or juice every day had healthier, more flexible blood vessels.
Research studies are on-going in the areas of cancer treatment and prevention, high blood pressure and diabetes control, as well as the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
Here we look at some of the research related to the health benefits of cranberries and how they can easily be incorporated into your daily diet.
One of the first published studies related to the benefits of cranberry juice for the "speedy detachment of nits from the hair", which was written in 1950. Until then, most of the scientific research revolved around how best to cultivate cranberries.
Starting in 1959, a large number of studies were published concerning the benefits of cranberry juice for its anti-bacterial action. As early as 1962, doctors began describing the benefits of cranberry juice for the treatment of urinary tract infections.
Recent Research Into Cranberries
Now, forty-five years later, some people are still unaware of the benefits of cranberry juice and continue to suffer with recurrent infections of this type. The most recent study, published in January of 2007, concludes that regular consumption of cranberry products may offer an alternative to the frequent use of prescription antibiotics.
Over the years, the overuse of antibiotics has resulted in "antibiotic resistant bacteria", just one reason that alternatives are important.
The health benefits of cranberries do not end with urinary tract infections. Much of the recent research is related to peridontal gum disease. It is known that something in cranberries prevents bacteria from clinging to the walls of the urinary tract. It appears that something else, or the same something -- researchers are not sure -- prevents plaque from clinging to the teeth and gums.
It is possible that this effect may also prevent plaque from forming on the arterial walls, the primary cause of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), coronary thrombosis (blood clot in the vessels leading to the heart), and stroke.
Other health benefits of cranberries are related to their anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is involved in many chronic and life threatening diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and most types of cancer.
One of the most "written about" health benefits of cranberries relates to the possible prevention of prostate cancer, but laboratory studies have demonstrated that extracts from the cranberry inhibit the growth and spread of breast, colon, lung and other cancerous tumors, as well.
Many experts have come to the conclusion that it may not be a single compound, but a group or groups of compounds that provide the health benefits of cranberries.
Cranberries and other fruits, vegetables and grains fall into a category often referred to as "plant foods". They contain a number of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, probiotics, polyphenols, flavonoids, fiber and other components, possibly some that have yet been named.
It seems that groups of these components work together and rely on each other to effectively nourish the cells of the body and protect human health. It has long been known that certain vitamins and minerals work best when taken in conjunction with other vitamins and minerals. Some nutrients cannot be absorbed by the body, without the help of other nutrients.
So, even though cranberries contain vitamin C (for example), taking vitamin C will probably not provide all of the health benefits associated with cranberries.