Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Health Benefits of Cranberries

Thanksgiving is coming up and cranberry sauce is a staple of a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Did you know that cranberries have enormous health benefits? to name just a few; they are very helpful in treating and preventing urinary tract infections, a powerful antioxidant, and help prevent cancer. To learn more read on....

The information below is taken from a great website called The Worlds Healthiest Foods.

Health Benefits

Protection against Urinary Tract Infection
How does cranberry juice help prevent urinary tract infections? It acidifies the urine, contains an antibacterial agent called hippuric acid, and also contains other compounds that reduce the ability of E. coli bacteria to adhere to the walls of the urinary tract. Before an infection can start, a pathogen must first latch on to and then penetrate the mucosal surface of the urinary tract walls, but cranberries prevent such adherence, so the E. coli is washed away in the urine and voided. Since E. coli is pathogen responsible for 80-90% of urinary tract infections, the protection afforded by cranberries is quite significant.

8-Ounces Better than 4 to Prevent Bladder Infections
Cranberry's protective effects against bladder infections may be dose responsive, with 8-ounces of cranberry juice being twice as effective as 4-ounces, suggests preliminary research presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America by Kalpana Gupta from the University of Washington.

*Chinese herbal medicine is also very helpful in treating and preventing reoccurring urinary tract infections

Cranberries' Potent Anti-Viral Activity
Long recognized as an effective treatment for urinary tract infections, cranberry juice's benefits have now been shown to also extend to protection against viruses.

Cranberries Combat Herpes Virus
Laboratory studies published in the October 2004 issue of the Journal of Science, Food and Agriculture have shown that a phytonutrient isolated from cranberries is effective against the herpes simplex virus (HSV-2), the cause of genital herpes.

A Pro-biotic Berry for Gastrointestinal and Oral Health?
Delegates at the 2002 American Chemical Society meeting and Experimental Biology Conference were also informed about cranberries' ability to act as a natural probiotic, supporting the health-promoting bacteria that grow in the human gastro-intestinal tract while killing off the bacteria that promote infections and foodborne illnesses.

Prevention of Kidney Stone Formation

Beneficial Actions on Cholesterol

Improved Blood Vessel Function;
Protecting Even Individuals with Atherosclerosis against Heart Attacks

Antioxidant Protection;
Cranberry juice ranked among the highest in antioxidant activity

Cancer Prevention
Also at the 2002 national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Catherine Neto, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, presented research on several newly discovered compounds in cranberries that were toxic to a variety of cancer tumor cell lines, including lung, cervical, prostate, breast and leukemia cancer cells. The Cornell study mentioned above that confirmed cranberries as having the highest levels of antioxidants among common fruits also found that cranberries had the strongest ability to inhibit the proliferation of human liver cancer cells.

To get even more information on the cranberry and other healthy foods go to The World's Healthiest Foods