Wednesday, May 09, 2018 by Ralph Flores
Cranberries aren’t just used for salads and baked goods. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has indicated that drinking cranberry juice regularly could reduce urinary tract infection (UTI) instances in women that previously had the condition. The study also indicated that this could reduce the need for antibiotics worldwide.
In the study, the researchers said that the daily consumption of at least eight ounces of cranberry juice reduced UTI incidents by as much as 40 percent among women who previously had the condition. Based on the findings, the team suggested that cranberries could be a potential alternative to antibiotic treatment.
Cranberries contain natural antibiotic compounds. This includes Type-A proanthocyanidins (PACs), flavonoids which prevent bacteria from inhabiting the urinary system. The fruits are also known to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria like Escherichia coli (E. coli) found in the gastrointestinal tract, which is one of the main causes of UTI. (Related: Cranberry juice fights infections at molecular level.)
To maximize the benefits of cranberry juice, Professor Kalpana Gupta of Boston University says that drinking it daily will support the body in preventing infections. “Most people wait to drink cranberry juice until they have a UTI, but once the symptoms start they’ll likely need a course of antibiotics,” he added.
For the study, the team involved 373 women with a mean age of 40 years from the U.S. and France. Researchers conducted the study over a span of 24 weeks at 18 clinical sites in both countries. All participants were relatively healthy at the time of the trials, but all of them had at least two UTI episodes a year before the study started. They were then randomly assigned to consume either a daily glass of cranberry juice or a placebo beverage.
After comparing the results, those who drank cranberry juice had reduced UTI cases by at least half – with their group having only 39 cases over the 67 posted by those in the placebo group.
Of the findings, the authors of the study concluded: “These results suggest that the consumption of cranberry is a useful strategy for reducing recurrent clinical UTI episodes and antibiotic use that is associated with the treatment of these events.”
However, the health benefits of cranberries don’t stop there. Cranberries are also beneficial for supporting various systems in the body, according to Dr. Julie Miller Jones of the St. Catherine University in Minnesota. “While urinary tract health benefits have been associated with cranberries for decades, scientists have made progress investigating cranberry’s role in aspects such as affecting the gut microbiome, supporting the immune system and protecting the cardiovascular system,” she explained. “Future studies are likely to unfold exciting new roles about cranberries and health.”
Jones, who was not part of the study, explained that the bright-red color of cranberries meant that it contained beneficial phytonutrients aside from PAC. “These PACs have been shown in animal and other studies to have antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A number of clinical trials have linked these compounds to urinary tract health,” she added.
It’s easy to get more cranberries into your diet: Add them to oatmeal or baked goods, or add the juice to your smoothie to gain the health benefits of this nutritious berry.
Read more about the other health benefits of cranberries by heading to Food.news today.