Cranberry is a glossy, very red and very tart berry, which belongs to the genus of Vaccinium. Cranberries are growing on wild shrubs in Northern Europe, northern Asia, and North America. For many centuries, cranberries have been used as a traditional remedy for treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections. However, this berry is also known to promote gastrointestinal and oral health, decrease levels of low cholesterol, raise levels of good cholesterol, help patients to recover after stroke and prevent many severe diseases, such as cancer. Cranberries are harvested from October through December, and they offer the most health benefits when consumed fresh and raw. However, unsweetened cranberry juice is available all year round. It is made from fresh, whole dried or frozen cranberries and offers some great health benefits, especially for women.
Cranberry juice benefits for women
Cranberry juice works miracles against urinary tract infections. Therefore, this juice is extremely beneficial for women who are more prone to this type of infection. According to the official statistics, about 40% of women and 12% of men have a urinary tract infection at some time in their life. Women’s body has a specific anatomy in which the urethra is closed to the anus and placed at the short distance from the urethral opening to the bladder. This makes it very easy for bacteria to spread from the anus (or after a sexual intercourse) to urethra and infect the urinary tract.For many years, scientists have believed that the acidity of cranberries helps to prevent urinary tract infections. However, recent research has shown that proanthocyanidins in cranberries are mostly responsible for this benefit. Their structure acts as a barrier to bacteria that might otherwise attack to the urinary tract lining.
Other health benefits of cranberry juice
Cranberries are also loaded with powerful antioxidants. Cranberry juice contains unique combination of phenolic antioxidants, proanthocyanidin antioxidants, anthocyanin antioxidants, flavonoid antioxidants, and triterpenoid antioxidants.
Moreover, scientific studies have shown that daily intake of cranberries can help to prevent cancer occurrence. Women may again benefit from taking the cranberry juice on the regular basis, by decreasing their risk of breast cancer. This fruit also offers protective benefits against colon, lung, and prostate cancer.
Cranberry juice also degreases risk of periodontal disease, stomach ulcers and adherence of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. It offers numerous cardiovascular benefits and decreases risk of high blood pressure. It also boosts the immune system and offers protection from infections, common cold and flu.