The cranberry – a miracle cure?

For many years, the healing power of cranberries have been widely known and used. As a matter of fact, scientific research has already examined the cranberry and its effects in detail. The small red berries have some health-promoting ingredients that can actually work wonders. Read in the following article what these health-promoting ingredients actually are and what they are particularly good at.

What is the cranberry and where does it come from?

The cranberry belongs to a group of so-called evergreen dwarf shrubs which can grow up to 2 meters in height. The little, red berry has a somewhat sour taste and is related to blueberries, huckleberries and bilberries, the latter also being known as European blueberries.

While the cranberry seems to be rather unknown in Germany, the tiny fruit is well known in North America. In fact, almost all cranberries which are produced worldwide, come from the United States and Canada as well as Chile. While dried cranberries are a delicious addition to salads, most cranberries are processed into jams, juices, or sauces. In the United States as well as Canada, cranberry sauce is a very traditional accompaniment to the yearly feasts on Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

What are the ingredients of cranberries?

With only 0.2 grams of fat, 0.4 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of sugar per 100 grams of cranberries, there are only a few main nutrients contained within the cranberry, namely the phytochemicals polyphenol and anthocyane. These phytochemicals protect human body cells from toxic influences while also strengthening blood vessels and cardiovascular system.

In addition, cranberries contain an above-average amount of vitamins and minerals. For example, 100 grams of cranberries already cover the daily requirement of vitamin C, vitamin B5 and B6, as well as iron.

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Cranberries and its effect against cystitis

Various scientific studies have shown that the cranberry can also prevent cystitis. So-called proanthocyanidins ensure that bacteria cannot settle nor multiply within the bladder. Hence, drinking a glass of pure cranberry juice every day can prevent cystitis. This might be especially beneficial for those who suffer more frequently from cystitis. Yet, be aware that if you already have an existing cystitis, an additional antibiotic might be necessary. If you currently suffer from cystitis, please consult your doctor. Nevertheless, in addition to prescribed medication, one can drink cranberry juice. Besides the above described benefits, drinking plenty of cranberry juice will also promote the urge to urinate which, in turn, will accelerate the flushing out of bacteria. In case you do not like the flavor of cranberry juice, you can also purchase capsules filled with cranberry powder. Those will have the same effect as cranberry juice without promoting the urge to urinate. 

Cranberries can inhibit prostate problems

Prostate cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy often suffer from side effects such as inflammation of the mucous membranes in the bladder or urethra. This leads to a constant feeling of having to urinate, similar to cystitis. A study investigating the effect of cranberry extract concluded that people who received cranberry extract experienced significantly less discomfort (30% of respondents) than those who did not receive the extract (45% of respondents).

Cranberries and oral hygiene

Cranberries are also effective in terms of oral hygiene. Numerous studies have shown that the proanthocyanidins have an anti-adhesive effect and, as a result, reduce caries, periodontitis, and gum inflammation. It also reduces dental plaque and the formation of a biofilm. Besides all those benefits for your oral hygiene, it also combats bad breath.

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The cranberry as a culinary delight

In addition to the health-promoting effects of cranberries, the little red fruit is also perfect to process into a spread, in the form of jam, or as an ingredient for smoothies. The sky is the limit when it comes to the possible variations in eating cranberries. Whether as juice, capsule, dried fruit, or jam – there are definitely no negative consequences of incorporating cranberries into your diet. Overall, the cranberry has been proven to strengthen the immune system and, on top of that, it tastes delicious – what else could you ask for?