The amazing health benefits of cranberries: From UTI prevention to cancer
Cranberries are delicious, nutritious, and full of colour. But did you know they also have unbelievable benefits for your long-term health?
From cancer to brain health to urinary tract infections (UTIs), cranberries are full of vitamins and nutrients that can keep illness, disease, and infection at bay. And of course, support a healthy immune system. It’s no wonder we call cranberries a superfood.
Why are cranberries considered a superfood?
They’re super high in nutrients and antioxidants. What are antioxidants, you ask? Molecules that fight free radicals in the body. What are free radicals, you ask? Scary molecules that find their way into the body and are often linked to illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Anyways, back to cranberries. These powerful superfruits quite literally kill off the bad agents in your body that could cause you harm. And they’re packed with nutrients and vitamins to boot.
What vitamins and nutrients do cranberries have?
The nutritional profile of a cranberry depends on how it’s prepared. For example, cranberry extract is going to have a higher nutrient level than cranberry juice cocktail.
In their natural form, cranberries are rich in vitamins C and E, which is great news for your immune system.
Cranberries are also a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Just 1 cup of whole raw cranberries can account for about 13% of your daily fiber intake.
Flavonoids are one of the most prominent nutrients in cranberries. As a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, flavonoids are known for having impressive health benefits.
Last (but not least), cranberries are bursting with a micronutrient called proanthocyanidins or PACs. PACs have incredible antioxidant properties. They’re also the reason why cranberries help prevent urinary tract infections.
What are the health benefits of cranberries?
This might be the health benefit that cranberries are most famous for. A UTI happens when bacteria sticks to the urinary tract lining and spreads. Symptoms include the constant urge to pee, difficulty emptying your bladder, and a burning sensation when you do manage to pee.
UTIs can be easily treated with antibiotics. But if it’s not caught in time, the infection can spread to the kidneys and cause serious (sometimes life-threatening) damage.
PACs from cranberries are proven to stop bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. The bacteria then gets naturally flushed out through your pee. Several studies have shown that capsules with a high concentration of cranberry extract effectively reduce the risk of UTIs, especially recurrent UTIs in women.
Pro tip: cranberry juice won’t do the trick because it doesn’t have a high enough concentration of PACs. To prevent UTIs, it’s important to take a high-quality cranberry supplement with at least 36mg of PACs per dose.
Enhance oral health
Polyphenols in cranberries have the power to stop bad bacteria from sticking to surfaces throughout the body—not just the urinary tract. Scientists say your mouth might benefit the most.
Cranberries can help protect you from tooth decay, plaque, gum disease, and bacterial infections. For example, this study found that cranberry PACs were effective in preventing and treating oral candidiasis—a painful infection that impacts the mouth, throat, and esophagus.
The best part is that cranberry polyphenols stick around in your saliva, even after you’ve swallowed. That means they’ll keep working hard to ward off harmful bacteria.
Lower cholesterol and improve heart health
Cranberries can be a superfood superstar for your heart health. They can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index to help you steer clear of cardiovascular disease.
For example: LDL—also known as “bad” cholesterol—can cause plaque build-up in the lining of your arteries, making them thicker and tougher. Studies show that cranberries reduce the level of LDL in your body, so that oxygen and nutrients can easily get where they need to go.
Boost memory and brain health
Research from the University of East Anglia found that cranberries could help improve memory and even prevent neurodegenerative diseases, like dementia. It’s all thanks to some of the micronutrients in cranberries.
Cranberries are rich in flavonoids, anthocyanins, and PACs, which have all been shown to improve cognition.
One study looked at 60 participants between the ages of 50 and 80. Researchers found that by consuming one cup of cranberries per day, participants saw a significant improvement in everyday memory and brain function. They also noticed better circulation of essential nutrients, like oxygen and glucose, to the parts of the brain that boost cognition.
The best part? It only took 12 weeks for researchers to see these significant improvements.
By adding just one cup of cranberries to your daily diet, you can keep your brain sharp for longer.
Slow down cancer progression
Cranberries might also be helpful for targeting certain types of cancer cells. Several studies have shown that cranberries have the potential to kill cancer cells, slow their growth, and reduce inflammation along the way.
Although more research is needed, the relationship between cranberries and cancer is promising.
Are there any risks to eating cranberries?
For most people, cranberries are completely safe to eat. They’re natural, nutritious, and tasty. However, there are a few exceptions.
Cranberries can sometimes cause nausea and diarrhea if you eat too much, especially for young kids. Test the waters by eating them in smaller increments to start off.
Lastly, you might want to avoid drinking cranberry juice if you’re on blood thinning medication. While some reports say that cranberries can increase your risk of bleeding, other reports are incongruent. Always talk to your doctor first before making any dietary decisions while on medication.
What are healthy ways you can incorporate cranberries into your diet?
One of the best parts about cranberries is that they can be prepared in countless ways. Cooked, canned, dried, or relished. In a juice, tea, or smoothie. Baked into a mouthwatering scone. The options are endless.
The healthiest way to eat cranberries is to avoid anything too processed. We’re talking decadent cranberry sauce, sugary juice cocktail, or rich cranberry desserts.
Instead, aim to eat cranberries in their natural form or as a highly concentrated extract. Here are a few examples:
- Add fresh or frozen cranberries to a healthy morning smoothie. If you’re looking for higher nutrient levels, try adding cranberry powder to your smoothie.
- Sprinkle dried cranberries over a nutrient-packed salad, like this one.
- Drink cranberry tea. You can even try a soothing hot cranberry tea during the winter months, complete with festive flavours like cinnamon and clove.
- Take a cranberry extract supplement with at least 36mg of PACs per dose. This is the easiest and most effective way to get all the incredible health benefits of cranberries—in one little capsule.
What cranberry supplement will give me the most health benefits?
Utiva Cranberry PACs has 9x more PACs than most cranberry pills, so one dose per day is all you need to keep UTIs away and boost your overall health.
Exhibit A: 96% of Utiva consumers are UTI-free for at least 6 to 18 months. And the longer they take Utiva, the more benefits they experience: fewer UTIs, symptom relief, reduced antibiotic use, and a significantly improved quality of life.
Utiva Cranberry PACs has also been recognized by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). That means it has been carefully reviewed by a panel of medical professionals to confirm it’s a safe and effective supplement—all based on scientific evidence.
Learn more about Utiva Cranberry PACs here and how it can improve your cranberry intake.
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