Cranberry Juice Benefits And Side Effects Explained

Pile of cranberries.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? For some, it may be the warm fireplace or the joyful laughter of friends and family. But what enhances these aspects of Thanksgiving? A well-set table, huge turkey portions and, of course, cranberries!

The nutritional value of cranberries makes them a well-loved healthy treat all around the world. You can consume them raw, as juice, or in a compote/sauce.

These tasty morsels have been hailed as a super-food for quite some time now. It’s no surprise that we still love them this much today. In fact, it would appear our passion for cranberries has only grown in recent years based on the number of raw cranberries and cranberry-based products on sale today.

Cranberries are said to be native to North America, which is great news for us living in the good old United States. These “American cranberries” are also called vaccinium macrocarpon. They are a healthy all-American snack that does a lot for our health. For as small as they are, cranberries pack a powerful punch!

Like blueberries, mulberries, and goji berries, cranberries are full of healthy nutrients. In this article, we will look at the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant capacity, as well as various health benefits of this amazing berry. Vitamin C is just one of the many plusses that cranberries have to offer!

Cranberries contain natural anti-inflammatory agents. This is great to maintain overall health and wellness. They are also a possible natural treatment option for tooth decay and gum disease due to their polyphenols and might hinder the production of cancer cells due to its proanthocyanidins.

The likelihood that you’ve encountered cranberries in some form or another is quite high. I don’t assume you’re someone who knows nothing about how they work or what they taste like. However, it pays to further explore and learn more about them in order to maximize their full potential and increase their healing benefits. But why should you have to do extensive research, read articles from the Journal of Nutrition, etc., to find out what cranberries are all about? Just read on!

What Are Cranberries? Where Do Cranberries Come From?

Punnet of cranberries hanging in a tree.

Fresh Cranberries In Their Natural Habitat.

Cranberries are one of the few naturally occurring berries that are entirely native to Northern America and parts of Canada. However, they also occur naturally in other parts of the world – such as Scotland.

The name ‘cranberries’ is derived from their original name – ‘cranberry’, due to how the plant and flower of the bush look on which the berry grows. The bushes of cranberries tend to grow in regions with higher altitudes and are therefore favored by colder climates. The plant has also been known to grow in the northern parts of Asia.

The bushes of cranberries contain ever-green leaves which help to create a wide amount of phytochemicals that can be found in cranberries.

Studies claim the rich amount of antioxidants contained within cranberries (thanks to their anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid!) can be linked to the high-intensity photosensitivity of these bushes. This helps give them the ability to turn natural sugars into vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.

Today, most of the cranberries you eat in the US come from either Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Wisconsin. You can harvest them through September and October, which makes autumn cranberry season.

Ancient North American cultures used the cranberry as a form of food, medicine and as a dye. It clearly still plays a central part in the dietary concerns of a modern generation. What’s Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce, or a good bowl of muesli without cranberries?

Does Juicing Cranberries Alter Their Health Benefits?

Cranberry juice has long been hailed as a powerful natural health tonic, and for good reason. The juice of cranberries, albeit very sweet, is said to contain a wide variety of potent natural antioxidants that help to flush toxins and free radicals from your system.

The list of health benefits of cranberry juice goes on and on. Besides detoxing the blood, cranberry juice can help with regards to treating urinary infections in both men and women – but I’ll get into that more a bit later.

It helps to coat the veins and prevent high blood pressure from occurring by dilating blood vessels. It also gives you a much needed, healthy energy boost in the mornings when you need it most. However, many have claimed that cranberry juice is not the healthiest form of cranberries for a variety of reasons.

The first reason is that when anything is ‘juiced’, it may lose some of the phytonutrients and minerals that make it so healthy. Juicing is also usually done through a process of adding artificial sweeteners, colorants or other juice blends to the mix. Even without that, The rinds or fruit skins tend to be where the largest amount of phytonutrients are. Juicing can get rid of these nutrient-dense parts of the fruit, and reduce the number of nutrients you receive.

So, in short, pure or largely cranberry-based fruit juice is still good for you. But the truth is that a large amount of sugar, plus the other additives tend to make the juice only a little bit healthier than a soft drink. It’s best to get a hold of whole cranberries and eat them ‘as is’ to receive the maximum health benefits this humble berry has to offer.

Cranberry Benefits For UTI’s Explained

UTI’s, or Urinary Tract Infections, are one of the most common health ailments we face today. It has been estimated that roughly 15 million people in the US alone contract a UTI each year, and 150 million worldwide.

Many are now starting to admit UTIs are more of a problem than they originally thought. One of the contributing factors appears to be the overuse of antibiotics and our growing resistance to them. Overusing antibiotics has been said to lead to a variety of health issues and ailments such as yeast infections, bacterial infections, disease, digestive issues and a weakened immune system overall.

So the search for an all-natural preventative measure and treatment is quite important. Some have claimed that cranberries are effective at treating, curing and ultimately preventing UTI infections.

Many are still in the process of trying to find adequate evidence to prove that this is indeed the case. However, research has shown that cranberry juice does help to flush out toxins that may lead to infection. Studies have also shown that cranberry juice can coat the veins and urethras internal lining. This makes it easier for liquids to pass through without the risk of bacteria and toxins causing infection.

However, we need more research and clinical trials to know the exact effects and mechanisms of cranberries and how they work in our system.

You know how great this berry is if you’ve ever suffered from a hangover or the flu and drank a large bottle of pure cranberry juice.

Cranberry Benefits For Inflammation Explained

Inflammation is best be defined as irritation. It often manifests with redness, swelling, pain, tenderness or heat. This generally indicates a disturbed function within the body. Inflammation can also be due to damaging agents found in or on the tissue.

Inflammation can be a mild irritation that passes quickly and with relative ease. But it can also be something really serious that can cause lifelong pain and discomfort in the form of diseases. One example of this is arthritis.

In most cases, doctors prescribe a particular medication or treatment to help ease the pain of inflammation or to help relieve the symptoms of the issue. But in truth, these do little to help treat the cause of these symptoms. Due to that, most cases of inflammation tend to be a recurring or chronic issue.

As with every disease, the holistic approach to treatment advocates that we take a step back and review our lives as a whole. This helps us to identify the issues or factors that may be affecting our health. the most important thing to note when trying holistic forms of healing is that they’re the best to use as a preventative measure rather than a cure. Although they may be effective at curing health ailments, in reality, they’re better for maintaining general health.

Cranberry juice has an amazing natural ability to help flush toxins out of the bloodstream. It also provides your body with a significant percentage of its much needed dietary fiber. This helps to control and reduce the number of toxins in your system that lead to inflammation.

Cranberries For Immune Boost Explained

Girl with hands out and back to camera in front of sea.

Feel Healthy and Amazing!.

As you now know, cranberries are incredibly healthy for you and can do wonders for your overall health. They can also aid in treating more specific health ailments such as inflammation among others.

But what exactly makes this humble little berry such an awesome natural product in terms of treating our health?

That’s a question with a variety of answers. It depends on how and where the cranberry grows. This determines the various nutrients contained within. How they are prepared or served also has a large effect on the number of nutrients you will obtain.

One thing remains clear, cranberries are definitely called superfoods for good reason. To give you an idea of what I’m referring to, here’s a list of some minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that can be found in an average serving of cranberries, roughly 55 grams.

The first thing worth noting is that they’re a great source of energy for people who are trying to lose weight. They only have 25 calories per 55-gram serving and only 0.07 grams of fat.

There is also 0.25 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 5 mg of calcium, 0.12 mg of iron, 3.5 mg of magnesium, 6 mg of phosphorous, 44 mg of potassium, 1mg of sodium,  0.05 mg of zinc, a whopping 7.7 mg of calcium, 0.5 mg of folate, 35 IU of vitamin A, 0.72 mg of vitamin E and 2.75 mcg of vitamin K.

This combination of nutrients, vitamins and minerals make cranberries almost as good as any multivitamin or health food supplement. When combined with a balanced, healthy natural diet, will work wonders for boosting your immune system.

Cranberries For Digestion Explained

Having a healthy and functioning digestive system is key for maintaining good health. It also ensures that your body functions at its best.

Modern research has suggested that nearly every ailment that we experience can be linked to germs and bacteria. They tend to form in our digestive system.

What we eat is very important in controlling, regulating or preserving our digestive health. It will play a great role in determining our overall health over time.

And proanthocyanidins in cranberry juice have been linked to preventing helicobacter pylori (h. pylori) from sticking to the lining of the stomach, which can help protect against stomach ulcers. Furthermore, cranberry juice cocktail has been shown to harm the formation of e. coli.

Cranberries: Full Of Fiber!

Cranberries on spoon inside milk.

Cranberries Are Perfect in Breakfast Oats.

Foods with high fiber content can play a vital role in allowing us to pass waste products more easily. Cranberries are also a good source of folate, a very important mineral. Not only this but they make a great addition to foods that contain nuts and whole grains. which helps in healthy and normal digestive functions.

Cranberries help to flush out toxins and bacteria and are also a good alternative for energy for people who are sensitive to carbohydrates such as bread and rye grains or yeast.

I generally enjoy adding a few tablespoons of cranberries to my breakfast oats or muesli. I also just enjoy snacking on these tasty berries by themselves throughout the day. They help ensure that I keep my bowels in check without the risk of gaining weight.

A healthy gut makes for a happy person and treating your gut and digestive system is a lot easier than we may assume it is. Simply sticking to a good diet and being careful to avoid foods that irritate your gut help keep you healthy. Shedding water weight through exercise is also a key part of staying in shape.

Cranberries For Heart Health Explained

We may not think about it often, but our heart is one of the most crucial organs in our body. It’s only when it starts to have issues and we start experiencing cardiovascular diseases that we realize and appreciate this very important reality. So it’s imperative that we do what we can to ensure that our hearts are as healthy as possible. Eating high fiber breakfasts such as oatmeal, and sprinkling cranberries on top is a great way to do that.

Many people are unaware of the fact that cranberries can be one of nature’s most powerful health foods. Recent studies have shown that they’re incredibly effective at promoting heart health. Cranberries can help improve flow-mediated vasodilation. This connects to blood pressure levels as well as general heart health. It is just one of the ways that cranberries can help your heart. This can even help improve scalp health.

Basically, the better your veins can carry the blood to the heart, the better the heart can pump.

Cranberry juice is a really powerful tool in aiding or treating the signs of high cholesterol levels. This is one of the leading causes of heart disease these days.

By drinking 2-3 cups of average 23% cranberry juice every day, researchers managed to increase a test subject’s high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol count by 121%. It also decreased the body’s low-density lipoprotein count. Drinking 2 cups a day has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

HDL is the ‘good cholesterol’ our body needs to stay healthy and keep our heart pumping. LDL is the ‘bad cholesterol’ that we need to keep in check to avoid heart disease.

By drinking cranberry juice, not only will you help to reduce LDL levels, but raise HDL levels in your blood within the first month. 

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries? Are Cranberries Bad For Dogs?

Puppy lying on the ground.

Dogs Can Eat Cranberries Too!

When it comes to feeding your pooch cranberries, it’s best to take caution as their stomachs are a lot more sensitive than ours. Giving them too much of something (or the wrong thing in the first place) can cause them harm or discomfort.

In truth, I don’t feed my pooch fruits and berries as much as I do vegetables. They tend to enjoy vegetables with meat a lot more than the sweeter natural treats. But hey, every dog is different.

So I’ve found that roughly 1 or 2 tablespoons of cranberries a day is enough for my dog.  It can help to ease its digestive issues as well as give them an energy boost. They can actually make great energy boosting treats.

However, certain dogs may suffer from allergies to cranberries, so it’s best to monitor your dog’s health and reaction for a few hours. This will ensure that they don’t have any adverse reactions or symptoms as a result of the berries. Take them to the vet if they start to have any negative side-effects such as vomiting, coughing, wheezing, drooling excessively or have diarrhea. In most cases, the symptoms will never be this severe, but it’s best to keep an eye out just in case. 

Cranberry Juice Side Effects

No need to freak out or worry, cranberry juice is overall safe for consumption for people young and old. Yet, there are still a few risk factors you should keep in mind before jumping on the cranberry juice bandwagon.

For instance, if you drink it in large quantities you might experience a stomachache or nausea. Also, if you drink it in very large quantities (we’re talking over a liter a day for an extended period of time), you’ll run a higher risk of getting calcium oxalate kidney stones.

If you happen to be allergic to aspirin, you might want to steer clear of cranberry juice. That’s because cranberries contain a large amount of salicylic acid, which is similar to aspirin. Because of this similarity, it’s also best to stay away from cranberry juice if you typically use aspirin as a blood thinner. And if you have diabetes, make sure not to drink cranberry juice that’s been sweetened with tons of sugar. Stick to unsweetened cranberry juice (or ones with artificial sweeteners). Otherwise, drinking it will cause your blood sugar to spike. And it’s always good to opt for a low-calorie drink when you can in order to boost weight loss.

When taking medications, it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider to use even natural substances as remedies to ailments. Research is inconclusive but suggests that cranberry juice might interact with certain drugs, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Conclusion

Ultimately, no breakfast or brunch time snack would be complete without cranberries or cranberry juice. How often do you find something that is not only healthy yet scrumptious and delicious at the same time? I’ll tell you that it’s quite rare in my experience.

Try drinking a glass of cranberry juice or even 2-3 cups a day, and eating as much of it as you can. You can even make a cranberry juice cocktail or a smoothie featuring cranberry products. Or you can opt for a dried cranberry snack, cranberry extract, or cranberry supplements. It doesn’t matter how you get your cranberry juice consumption in, all that matters is that you do, so you can experience the full effects of cranberry juice. This will help save time and money and help keep you feeling healthy and full of energy