Glendale, California (PressExposure) April 17, 2015 -- Best known for their juice, sauce and dried versions for snacking, cranberries are little red fruit gems that are high in vitamins C and E. They have been shown in research studies to boost immunity, fight oral bacteria, prevent and treat urinary tract infections, and improve heart and skin health.
Cranberries benefit oral health by preventing bacteria from binding to the teeth, according to Researchers at the Eastman Department of Dentistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The research team found evidence that cranberry juice disrupts the formation of the building block of plaque, and certain properties in the juice disarm the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Similarly, cranberries help prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract walls, thus fighting off infections of the bladder. One research study with women who had a history of recurring bladder infections, found that daily treatment with cranberry concentrate capsules (400 mg. twice per day for three months) significantly reduced the recurrence of urinary tract infections.
Drinking cranberry juice is helpful for health, but it's important to select a natural cranberry juice that is unsweetened or sweetened from fruit sources, rather a cranberry juice cocktail sweetened with white sugar. It should be diluted with water in order to lessen the natural acidity in the juice.
Regarding white sugar, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that when healthy volunteers consumed a large amount of refined sugar, their immune system's white blood cells had an impaired ability to destroy bacteria for at least five hours.
Other ways to get more cranberries into the diet is to enjoy them in trail mixes, add frozen cranberries to smoothies, throw a few into a muffin recipe, or use dried cranberries in a salad or vegetable side dish. Cranberry powder supplements are available and may provide the most benefits.