Cranberries are water harvested gems that grow mainly in the hills of North America where pilgrims and Native Americans used them for hundreds of years, for both their taste, colour and amazing medicinal properties.
The many and varied health benefits of cranberry juice range from relief of urinary tract infections, respiratory disorders and even cancer. Cranberries are also incredibly versatile in cooking and there are lots of ways you can include them in your diet.
Here are some easy ways to up your intake:
- Drink 100% pure cranberry juice
- Eat dried cranberries as a midday snack or on the go
- Add a handful of frozen cranberries to your smoothie
- Add them to your morning cereal
- Cranberries make a great pairing with turkey but don't be afraid to pair it with chicken and pork, too!
- Make cranberry muffins or oatmeal cranberry cookies! Yum.
1. Prevents and relieves urinary tract infections
Having pain or discomfort when passing urine? You may have a urinary tract infection (UTI).
In-house nutritionist at Lifesum, Lovisa Nilsson says, "Urinary tract infections occur when the existence of certain micro-organisms in the urine tract exceed the normal amount." E. Coli causes 80% of urine infections which cranberry juice is thought to help ward off. But does it really help?
"Cranberry juice contains proanthocyanidins which has been shown to help stop bacteria from binding itself to the bladder walls.This means that the bacteria cannot multiply further in the bladder and flushes them out of the body. Cranberry juice also makes urine more acidic, creating an unsuitable environment for bacteria to thrive".
Drink up, but do be careful how much you consume - cranberry juice is known to have high sugar content!
2. Cardiovascular health
Fill up those glasses, ladies. The flavanoids in cranberries can help lower the risk of heart problems and help boost your heart health.
Lovisa says, "The flavanoids in cranberry juice can decrease the chances of developing atherosclerosis, which is a condition that restricts the arteries with the accumulation of plaques [that can] cause a lack of oxygen rich blood flow, leading to heart attack or stroke.
Cranberries have also shown to help boost cholesterol. A study conducted by the American Chemical Society found that drinking three glasses of cranberry juice a day significantly raised levels of 'good cholesterol' by up to 121 percent.
3. Prevents tooth decay
When we think of cranberry juice and our teeth, we think about the acidity, which we know can have an effect on our enamel. But don't be so quick to judge, cranberry juice can actually have a surprisingly positive effect on your oral health, too.
Lovisa says, "Just as proanthocyanidins (PACs) help prevent urinary tract infections by inhibiting bacteria growth, it can do the same for teeth and prevents the decay of teeth due to cavities. But again (and this is important) look out for the sugar content before you start downing the stuff."
To get the most out of it's benefits we recommend drinking it in its most natural form. Try Rabenhort's 100 percent pure cranberry juice from North-America. This one's not from concentrate!
4. Aids weight loss
Often we think as soon as we ditch the Diet Coke and start drinking fruit juices we're making healthier choices. But the sugar content in store-bought juices can often ruin your diet.
Lovisa says cranberries are ideal as a juice because they're less sweet than other fruits so finding a cranberry juice that doesn't contain any added sugars makes a fantastic substitute for soda or other sweeter juices.
Our recommendation? Enjoy a glass first thing in the morning before you start your day. "It's a perfect way to start your day with an antioxidant boost and fewer calories," says Lovisa. And it gives you time to wash away the extra acidity left on your teeth so you can enjoy it's benefits to the fullest.
5. Prevents cancer
When it comes to cancer prevention taking advantage of cranberries' superpowers isn't a bad idea.
Lovisa says, "The proanthocyanidins in cranberry juice have been shown to inhibit the growth of various cancer cells. Studies have also shown that flavanoids reduce the risk of cancer too, which cranberry is rich in."
A study at Cornell University found that cranberry extract killed off cancer cells within HOURS when tested on human breast cancer cells. If that's not a reason to eat more berries, we don't know what is.
6. Aids digestion
"Cranberries are rich in fibre, helping the digestive system function smoothly leading to a healthy and happy stomach. But to make sure that you can enjoy these benefits you're going to have to eat the berries whole or as part of a smoothie," says Lovisa.
We've just the recipe for you. Herbalife Consultant Nutritional Therapist, Miguel Toribio-Mateas has put together his fave gut loving drink below. The delicious juice is made with cranberries, apples and ginger juice making it super nutritious and a super thrill to sip on.
With your juicer to hand just take 2 medium green apples (unpeeled), 1 slice fresh pineapple, 10 fresh cranberries, 1/2 inch ginger, 1/4 fresh lime (unwaxed and unpeeled) and juice away! It's the perfect start to the day.
7. Immunity booster
A new study from the University of Florida found that people who drank a glass of cranberry juice daily experienced fewer colds and flu compared to those who took a placebo drink.
OK, so maybe it can't get rid of it but evidence has shown that cranberry juice can help you get through a cold and flu much smoother than without.
All thanks to polyphenols. These antioxidants protect our bodies against free radicals, but cranberries are known to have a powerhouse of antioxidants compared to other fruits which makes it a great treatment for aiding a cold.
8. Vitamin C
One of the main antioxidants in cranberry juice are its high levels of vitamin C. Apart from neutralising free radicals, vitamin C is vital for immunity, mood and collagen production. We can't get enough!
9. Healthy pregnancy
Because of the high levels of vitamin C cranberry juice is recommended for various conditions. The University Of Maryland suggests that taking vitamin C along with vitamin E may help prevent pre-eclampsia, a condition associated with high blood pressure and increased protein in a pregnant woman's urine which can cause premature birth.
10. It's versatile
Cranberry juice isn't just good to drink alone, there are loads of different ways to use it. Make a tart holiday cocktail, a delicious morning smoothie or use it to make homemade cranberry sauce alongside your turkey this Christmas! Cheers, ladies!