A Mountain of Evidence for Drinking Cranberry Juice
For many years cranberries have been known to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and positively affect cardiovascular health. Lately, the little cranberry is proving to provide mountains of evidence as to other health benefits.
Until recently the role cranberries played in urinary tract health was believed to be due to their ability to acidify the urine and thus prevent bacterial growth. It has since been discovered that certain phytochemicals in cranberries inhibit the adhesion of bacteria to the bladder wall and urinary tract and thus prevent the reproduction of the bacteria required for infection. This anti-adhesion effect lasts about 10 hours, so it’s best to drink your cranberry juice a few times a day for continuous benefit.
This same anti-adhesion mechanism may also play a role in preventing the adhesion of bacteria in the mouth which can result in dental ailments and preventing gastric ulcers caused by the H. pylori bacteria. Because gastric ulcers can lead to gastric cancer, drinking cranberry juice may be effective in preventing this form of cancer.
The phytochemicals in cranberries function as anti-oxidants as well which is exhibited in its high ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score of 1750 units per 100 grams of fresh fruit. Research at Tufts University has shown people need about 5000 ORAC units a day to have a significant impact on their tissue’s anti-oxidant capacity. On average, an ounce of cranberry juice has an ORAC score of 325. Therefore an 8-ounce glass has a score of 2600! This score is 1000 more than a comparable glass of orange juice.
What good is all this anti-oxidant power? Anti-oxidants are premiere disease fighters and preventers. They protect our bodies from harmful molecules we are exposed to every day, plus the free radicals produced inside our bodies from exercise and the stresses of day-to-day life.
Top these benefits off with cranberry’s already well-known nutritional merits—they are naturally high in vitamin C and low in calories—and you’ve reached the peak of cranberry goodness.