They’re small. They grow on vines. They’re red. And apparently, they are one of the healthiest foods that a woman can put in her body. They are… cranberries.
New Research shows that cranberries contain substances that prevent infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. There are a couple of different theories about how exactly cranberries can do this. Some studies show that certain antioxidants in cranberries change the invading bacteria so that they can’t stick to the urinary tract. Another idea is that cranberries create a Teflon-like slippery coating on the urinary tract walls that prevents the main culprits such as E. coli from getting a good grip.
The study focused on drinking juice made from dried cranberries and taking pills made from ground cranberries. If you are a woman at risk for UTI’s. One study looked at women who had a history of urinary tract infections caused by E. coli bacteria. Women who drank 1.7 ounces of cranberry-lingonberry juice concentrate every day for six months lowered their risk of getting a UTI by 20% compared to women who didn’t use any intervention.
Another study linked cranberry juice and cranberry tablets to fewer patients who experienced at least one symptomatic UTI. For the study, sexually active women took one tablet of concentrated cranberry twice a day, drank about 8 ounces of pure unsweetened cranberry juice three times a day for 12 months, or were given a placebo.
In a third study, older adults who ate cranberry products were about half as likely to have bacteria and white blood cells in their urine — a sign of a UTI — without symptoms of a UTI. But other studies in older people showed no difference in symptomatic UTI in people using cranberry and those who didn’t.
Issues With Studies Testing The Benefits Of Dried Cranberries
The single issue with the studies is that each cranberry is unique in their chemical makeup. Problems exist with giving test patients a standardization of products from dried cranberries. This makes studies without cranberry products in pill form very difficult to extrapolate results. Unfortunately, most clinical trials have had this design deficiency with ‘cranberry strength’ but future studies will focus on the key cranberry-derived compounds that could yield better results in UTI prevention.
Currently, the studies show that cranberries are likely to halt or prevent UTI’s in various studies. Aside from UTI research, each serving of cranberries has more than 10% of your daily values of vitamins. Plus, there are plenty of other micronutrients too! Cranberries can keep their potency for if kept in the freezer for up to 9 months. So if you store bulk cranberries then use them as part of a diet that can include a prevention against infection.