Individuals dealing with health problems, UTIs, and skin issues can become chronic, what are the effects and benefits of drinking cranberry juice?
Table of Contents
Cranberries are a healthy source of nutrients and antioxidants. Cranberry juice is a recommended source of vitamin C, with the added benefits of promoting digestive, heart, immune, and skin health. Most individuals can safely drink cranberry juice to their diet with no issues, but women who are pregnant or individuals that take blood thinners, or medications should discuss adding cranberry intake with a doctor or specialist first.
- One cup of unsweetened cranberry juice provides 23.5 milligrams or 26% of the daily value for vitamin C. (USDA 2018)
- To avoid excess consumption of added sugars and maximize the benefits, it is recommended to drink unsweetened cranberry juice.
- Cranberries contain antioxidant compounds/polyphenols that have been shown to help with digestive health.
- A study found that drinking cranberry juice was associated with increased beneficial gut bacteria and decreased constipation.
- Improvements in inflammatory markers were also observed.(Chicas MC, et al.,2022)
- Research funded by a cranberry juice company found participants who consumed cranberry juice twice daily had lower levels of several risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes than those who received a placebo. (USDA 2016)
- A systematic review and meta-analysis found that cranberry supplementation may improve body weight and blood pressure levels.
- Cranberries may also help improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol—considered “good” cholesterol—in younger adults.
- Further studies are needed to confirm these findings. (Pourmasoumi M, et al., 2019)
- Cranberry juice contains vitamin C, which is important for immune system function.
- Research suggests that inadequate vitamin C consumption can lead to decreased immunity and an increased risk of infections. (Carr A, Maggini S, 2017)
- Thanks to its high antioxidant content, cranberry juice may help protect your skin against damage caused by free radicals that contributes to premature aging.
- The vitamin C in cranberry juice is also needed for collagen production.
- Collagen is a type of protein that provides strength, elasticity, and structural support to the skin, helping to keep it firm and smooth.(Pullar JM, et al., 2017)
- A study found that cranberry components known as proanthocyanidins, can promote oral health.
- Cranberries activate antibacterial processes that can prevent bacteria from binding together, reducing periodontitis/gum disease and the formation of dental plaque. (Chen H, et al., 2022)
Urinary Tract Infection Prevention
- Cranberries have gone through many studies for home treatment of UTIs.
- It is believed the chemical compounds/proanthocyanidins can help prevent certain bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract, thus reducing the risk of UTIs. (Das S. 2020)
- A study found cranberry products in the form of juice or tablets may lower the risk of UTIs in at-risk groups by approximately 30%.
- At-risk groups include those with recurrent UTIs, pregnant women, older adults, and individuals with chronic indwelling catheters (devices used for short-term bladder drainage) and neurogenic bladder (conditions in which people lack bladder control due to problems in the brain, spine, or spinal cord). (Xia J Yue, et al., 2021)
There is no official recommendation on the optimal amount of juice an individual should consume for health benefits. Most studies examining the benefits have used amounts ranging from 8 to 16 ounces, or around 1 to 2 cups per day. (The Cranberry Institute) However, cranberry juice with large amounts of added sugar can contribute to increased calories, leading to weight gain and other health concerns. Therefore, it is important to read the product label and look for pure, 100% cranberry juice.
- If the pure juice is too tart, dilute it with some ice or water.
- Avoid cranberry cocktails that are often mixed with other juices, like grape or apple juice, and contain added sugars that can decrease the benefits.
- Examples of common added sugars include: (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2022)
- Fruit nectar
- Brown sugar
- Cane sugar
- Raw sugar
- Cane juice
- Corn syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Maple syrup
- Malt syrup
- Dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose, lactose
Smart Choices Better Health
Carr A, Maggini S. Vitamin C, and immune function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211. doi:10.3390/nu9111211
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Know your limit for added sugars.
Chicas MC, Talcott S, Talcott S, Sirven M. Effect of cranberry juice supplementation on the gut microbiome and inflammatory markers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in overweight individuals. Curr Dev Nutr. 2022;6(Suppl 1):272. doi:10.1093/cdn/nzac053.013
Chen H, Wang W, Yu S, Wang H, Tian Z, Zhu S. Procyanidins and their therapeutic potential against oral diseases. Molecules. 2022;27(9):2932. doi:10.3390/molecules27092932
The Cranberry Institute. How much cranberry juice should I drink in a day?
Das S. Natural therapeutics for urinary tract infections-a review. Futur J Pharm Sci. 2020;6(1):64. doi:10.1186/s43094-020-00086-2
Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H., & Pham-Huy, C. (2008). Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health. International journal of biomedical science: IJBS, 4(2), 89–96.
Pourmasoumi M, Hadi A, Najafgholizadeh A, Joukar F, Mansour-Ghanaei F. The effects of cranberry on cardiovascular metabolic risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Nutrition. 2020;39(3):774-788. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2019.04.003
Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The roles of vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):866. doi:10.3390/nu9080866
USDA. Cranberry juice, unsweetened.
Xia J Yue, Yang C, Xu D Feng, Xia H, Yang L Gang, Sun G ju. Consumption of cranberry as adjuvant therapy for urinary tract infections in susceptible populations: A systematic review and meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis. PLoS One. 2021;16(9):e0256992. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0256992
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