Health Benefits of the Cranberry - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/10/02

Health Benefits of the Cranberry

Although cranberries are a traditional side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey, there are many reasons to include them many times all during the year. The best news may be that eating cranberries is one of the healthiest things you can do over the holidays.

Most people have heard that drinking cranberry juice helps to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections. Originally, it was assumed that the juice made the urine more acidic but a research team at Rutgers University has shown that the juice prevents bacteria from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract and, thus, cannot cause an infection.

Another research group in Finland has shown that you only need to drink four ounces of pure cranberry juice for the protective effect. Because the cranberry 'cocktails' are diluted with other juices, you have to drink a lot more. You can also take capsules of powdered cranberry extract. These are usually available at health food stores. (Remember to tell your doctor if you begin taking any remedy.)

Scientists from Tel Aviv University have found that the cranberry's 'non-adhesion' factor also helps to protect against the bacteria that cause plaque in the mouth. With the plaque reduced, you have healthier gums. Just another recommendation for the potent cranberry.

Other research from Tel Aviv has demonstrated that the tannins produced by cranberries prevent the growth of bacteria in the stomach including Hpylori, the bacteria that have been found to cause the majority of gastric ulcers. 

As if this weren't enough healthy news about the cranberry, there are indications that this powerhouse may also help prevent cancer. At the University of Western Ontario, studies showed that cranberry juice delayed breast cancer development in mice. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin are suggesting that cranberry juice may be equivalent to red wine in preventing heart disease. For older adults, cranberry juice may help them absorb vitamin B12.

The recommended dose of cranberry juice is two to three large glasses (32 to 48 ounces) a day. If you prefer the tablets, you need to take two to four 400mg tablets per day. Since cranberry juice also contains vitamins A and C and plenty of potassium, it may be time to start saying, "a few cranberries a day..."

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