Cranberries are one of the only three native Northern American fruits (2). They are a rich source of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, K1, and copper. They are also nearly ninety percent water and rich in complex phytochemicals such as proanthocyanins, anthocyanins, flavanols, and phenolic acids (1).
They originated from New England and are currently grown in different parts of USA and Canada. Folklore from the 1600s showed that cranberries were used to treat urinary tract infections by the Native Americans. Cranberries were consumed as a food and used for wood and blood poisoning treatment. Except for the berries, the cranberry leaves were used for diarrhea, diabetes, and urinary disorders.
Consumption of Cranberries has been proven to prevent Urinary Tract infections
Cranberries and mostly cranberry juice are known to prevent bacteria, especially Escherichia coli from sticking to the wall of the bladder, thus being an effective treatment for preventing UTIs. This adhesion is mediated by fructose and proanthocyanins.
A systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated that cranberry intake significantly reduces the risk of developing urinary infections in susceptible populations (1).
Consumption of Cranberry Juice benefits gastric health
Research has shown that the daily consumption of 500mL cranberry juice daily for ninety days was found to suppress H/ pylori infection in the stomach in susceptible populations. Cranberry juice has also been found to influence the intestinal barrier integrity, therefore positively affecting gut microbiota composition (3,4).
1. Xia, J. Y., Yang, C., Xu, D. F., Xia, H., Yang, L. G., & Sun, G. J. (2021). 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, 16(9), e0256992.
2. Côté, J., Caillet, S., Doyon, G., Sylvain, J.-F., & Lacroix, M. (2010). Bioactive Compounds in Cranberries and their Biological Properties. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 50(7), 666–679.
3. Contreras TC, Ricciardi E, Cremonini E, Oteiza PI. (-)-Epicatechin in the prevention of tumor necrosis alpha-induced loss of Caco-2 cell barrier integrity. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015;573:84-91
4. Pierre JF, Heneghan AF, Feliciano RP, Shanmuganayagam D, Krueger CG, Reed JD, et al. Cranberry Proanthocyanidins Improve Intestinal sIgA During Elemental Enteral Nutrition. JpenParenter Enter. 2014;38(1):107-14.