Cranberry Health Benefits
Cranberries are a delicious fruit that are not always thought of for their health benefits even though they possess many. They are of course a favorite in pies and cakes, and what would the holidays be like without that wonderful cranberry sauce to top all those great treats.
The cranberry was first planted commercially in 1816 in Dennis, Massachusetts. Since they do better in cooler climates they are farmed mainly in the Northern United States and Canada. They are usually harvested from late September to the first of December. They are in the same family as blueberries and are a very tart, bright red berry.
One of the most widely known cranberry health benefits is its ability to both prevent and cure urinary tract infections. This home remedy has been passed down from generation to generation for decades and longer. In the past people weren't sure how it worked, they only knew it did. However, as scientific technology progressed, studies found that cranberries possess an antibacterial substance called hippuric acid and other compounds that reduce the ability of E. coli to penetrate the mucous surface of the walls of the urinary tract. This allows the urine time to void the E. coli before it can do any damage. Considering that E. coli is responsible for almost all urinary tract infections, this is quiet an amazing accomplishment for a small, all natural fruit. This wonderful health benefit is thought to be caused by a special strain of tannin that is only found in cranberries and blueberries. However, it must be noted that if you have a very serious and established bladder infection, you should probably see a doctor as it can spread to the kidney and cause even more problems. Cranberry health benefits can be a great preventive measure and even aid in the cure of a beginning infection, but don't depend totally on it if you have waited too late for its protective qualities.
Cranberry health benefits do not stop with their ability to help do away with urinary tract infections. Thanks to their quinic acid content, they can also greatly aid in the prevention of kidney stone formation. For some reason quinic acid is not absorbed by the body, but is excreted through the urine unchanged. While quinic acid is passing through the body, it causes the urine to be slightly acidic. The level of acidity is very small, but it is sufficient enough to stop calcium and phosphate ions from joining. This is very important for those who have a history of kidney stones. The joining of phosphate and calcium ions is what causes the formation of around 75% of all kidney stones.
You may be thinking the two cranberries health benefits mentioned above should be enough to add cranberries to your diet, but wait, there is more to come.
After a series of test tube studies at the University of Scranton found the antioxidants in cranberries could lower the bad LDL cholesterol level, a human study was needed to verify these findings. Over a three month period 1 to 3 glasses of 27% cranberry juice was given to a study group. At the end of this time, the overall levels were unchanged, however the LDL level had decreased and the HDL level had increased. These finding were very important since it represented a 30%-35% reduction in the risk for heart disease.
There are other studies that have been made which show cranberry health benefits to be even broader than discussed in this article. If you would like to find out more information about the health benefits of cranberries, you will find many articles available on the internet. However, if you would like to bookmark our site, we will be adding considerable data about cranberries and other fruit on a weekly basis.