Whether juiced or dried cranberries are a fruit believed to have exceptional health properties. Cranberries are a rich source of antioxidants which fight chronic diseases.
Compared to many other fruits, cranberries contain a high amount of total polyphenols. These are compounds such as flavonoids that studies suggest possess a broad range of benefits that contribute to whole body health.
Super Antioxidant Cell Protective Activity
Cranberry phytochemicals protect your genetic material, your DNA from damage by high oxidative stress and free radical damage. This is one mechanism by which plant antioxidants inhibit cancer development and progression. As we age, we have more oxidative stress and therefore benefit by adding deeply colored foods rich in antioxidants to our daily diet. The deep red color of cranberries alerts us to the presence of plant chemicals that protect and support repair of your DNA.
PACs have a unique ability to cross link or attach to the lining of the bladder and urinary tract thus inhibiting the attachment and growth of bacteria, including E. Coli, a common cause of urinary tract infections. This explains why cranberry juice has been used for hundreds of years in traditional medicine to promote resolution of and even reduce the frequency of bladder infections.
Similarly some stomach ulcers are related to the overgrowth of the bacteria Heliobacter pylori. PACs act similarly in the stomach lining by preventing the attachment of this bacteria and thus lowering the chances for its growth which leads to symptoms such as burning and pain and ultimately ulceration of the stomach lining.
Cancer Fighting Activity
Cranberries, like many plant foods are multi-taskers and act by interacting with more than one aspect of cell physiology and cancer growth factors. Cranberries are also source of epicatechins, quercitin and ursolic acid, all of which are potent cancer fighting agents. The wide array of plant chemicals in cranberries regulate the activity of several enzymes crucial to cancer cell growth. These enzymes include matrix metalloproteinase, quinone reductase and ornithine decarboxylase. Cranberry phytochemicals also promote normal cell cycling and normal cell death (apoptosis) which is lost in cancer cells, allowing them to grow and multiply without limit. By supporting normal cell functioning, the factors contributing to the development and growth of cancer are decreased.
Studies have demonstrated that plant chemicals present in cranberries are active in several cancer cell lines, including hormonal cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer as well as very common cancers including lung cancer and colon cancer. This may be due to the presence of small amounts of resveratrol and pterostilbene which protect DNA and thus prolong longevity of healthy cells.
Liver and Cellular Detoxification
Plant chemicals in cranberries support the normal Phase One detoxification pathways in the liver. Cranberries effect enzymes which are responsible for both drug detoxification as well as detoxification of toxic environmental chemicals that may be linked to increased cancer risk.
Supporting blood vessels
Due to its high polyphenol content, cranberry juice may have a role to play in contributing to heart health, according to emerging studies.
In fact, one study suggests that a daily serving of cranberries could be as good for the heart as red wine.
Studies have indicated that after drinking a glass of cranberry juice there may be a decrease in the level of inflammatory markers in blood (such as C-reactive protein).
Increasing levels of HDL (good cholesterol)
Emerging studies suggest that consuming a daily glass of light cranberry juice drink may help support the levels of good cholesterol HDL found in the bloodstream.
Lowering LDL levels (bad cholesterol)
Sometimes LDL becomes oxidised which can cause clogging in the arteries due to plaque formation.
Researchers reported that daily consumption of light cranberry juice drink may be associated with a decrease in oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
Lowering blood pressure
A recent study found that a daily consumption of low calorie cranberry juice drink may contribute to a reduction in blood pressure, which supports a healthy heart.
Better immune response
Findings from a growing number of new studies point to cranberry’s ability to support immunity.
One study found that those who drink a glass of cranberry juice a day could experience fewer cold and flu symptoms than those who do not.
Source of fibre
Cranberries and dried cranberries are a source of fibre, an important part of a healthy balanced diet, aiding digestive health.
Rich in Nutrients
Fresh cranberries are rich in Vitamin C and also contain small amounts of fiber, manganese, Vitamin K and Vitamin E.
It’s easy to get your daily dose of cranberry goodness.
While the fresh cranberry season is short you will find deliciously healthy cranberry juice, juice drinks, sauces and dried cranberries in major supermarkets all year round.