by Lauren Elizabeth, Demand Media
Cranberries can prevent urinary tract infections and boost overall health. Chock-full of antioxidants, the fruit has been used for its medicinal properties for hundreds of years and is a common natural remedy to this day. By choosing a supplement over juice, you can obtain the benefits without the extra sugar, added calories or undesired flavor.
A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria multiply in your urinary tract and cause cystitis, the inflammation of the bladder. Cranberries are a common home remedy to prevent this condition. They increase the urine acidity to create an inhospitable environment for bacteria such as E. coli that may cause UTIs. Cranberries may also prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of your urinary tract where they otherwise would grow, multiply and cause infection. Although cranberries may help prevent UTIs, do not use them to replace antibiotics to fight an existing infection.
Gastric Ulcer Suppression
Cranberries may prevent infection by Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers. A study published in the journal “Helicobacter” found that people who consume cranberry juice daily are less likely to test positive for the bacteria. The researchers said that these results are promising due to the widespread prevalence of gastric ulcers as well as the increased frequency of antibiotic resistance.
Just as cranberries prevent bacteria from clinging to the walls of your urinary tract, they prevent bacteria from adhering to your teeth. Because bacteria like Streptococcus mutans are unable to stick to your teeth, your risk of cavities and tooth decay is reduced. Similarly, cranberries prevent plaque buildup, improving your dental hygiene. While cranberries are no replacement for toothpaste, some researchers are examining how supplementing dental products with cranberries may improve dental health.
Potential Side Effects
Check with your doctor before adding cranberry supplements to your diet. Some negative side effects such as GI discomfort have been reported. Cranberry supplements may interact with certain medications that prevent blood clotting or are processed by your liver.