Cranberry Fruit: Health Benefits And Side Effects

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Published on: 06-Dec-2022

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Anjali Dwivedi

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Cranberry Fruit: Health Benefits And Side Effects

Cranberry Fruit: Health Benefits And Side Effects

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Cranberries, like their close relatives, the blueberry, bilberry, and lingonberry, belong to the heather family. Even though the North American cranberry is the most widely cultivated, wild cranberries come in various colours, sizes, and shapes.

Due to their very tart taste, fresh cranberries are rarely consumed. Instead, most people drink their juice, which is typically sweetened and mixed with other fruit juices. You may also get cranberries in various sauces, dried berries, and supplement powders and extracts. 

USDA studies consistently reveal that cranberries are rich in a wide range of healthy vitamins and plant components, some of which have been proven to fight urinary tract infections (UTIs), helping in liver purification and managing other medical conditions.

Table Of Contents

1. Cranberry In Hindi

2. What Are Cranberries?

3. The Nutritional Value

4. Health Benefits Of Cranberries

5. Do Cranberries Have Any Side-effects?

6. Dietitian’s Recommendations

7. The Final Say

8. FAQs

Cranberry In Hindi

Many confuse the fruit cranberry with karonda (also known as Bengal currant), but the two differ. Cranberry is a berry with softer pulp around the pip, and karonda, on the other hand, falls under currants with firm flesh around the seeds. Another fruit people confuse cranberries with is phalsa. Phalsa is also known as Indian sherbet berry and tops our country's list of exotic fruits.

What Are Cranberries?

Cranberries are tiny hard, spherical, crimson fruits with a bitter taste. Mainly found in North America's northern and southern regions, they flourish on vines in freshwater bogs. It is collected during September and October in the USA and Canada.

There are two ways to gather cranberries: wet and dry. In wet harvest, the bogs are flooded, and the floating berries are harvested; in dry harvest, no water is utilised.

Fruit collected during the dry season is processed into fresh fruit products like juice and jam, while fruit collected during the rainy season is utilised in processed foods like cranberry sauce and juice. 

Therefore, incorporating any of the many cranberry-based products on the market is an easy way to improve one's health.

The Nutritional Value 

The nutritional value of cranberries is given below; 100 grams of cranberries contain: 

  • Energy - 46 Kcal
  • Protein - 0.46g 
  • Carbohydrates - 12g  
  • Fibre, total dietary - 3.6g  
  • Sugars, total - 4.27g  
  • Total fat - 0.13g  
  • Potassium - 80mg 
  • Calcium - 8 mg 
  • Iron - 0.23mg
  • Magnesium - 6mg  
  • Phosphorous  - 11mg
  • Vitamin C - 14mg 

Health Benefits Of Cranberries 

USDA research indicates that among 20 different types of fruits, cranberries had the greatest concentration of antioxidant phenols. For these reasons, cranberries have earned their reputation as a superfood. Among the many health benefits they provide, the major ones are:

1. Controls Urinary Tract Infection 

Organic acids, including citric, malic, quinic, benzoic, and glucuronic, can be abundant in cranberries, flavonoids, terpenoids, anthocyanins, catechins, and more. The organic acid in cranberries helps urine remain acidic, which is harmful to germs. This helps in the prevention of catching urinary tract infections.

The USDA did several randomised controlled studies using women as participants, including the consumption of cranberry juice for 12 months. As a result, it was discovered that the frequency of these women's UTIs decreased when they drank cranberry juice.

Two hundred and twenty-five kids were given cranberry juice for six months in a different NIN trial. Again, antibiotic treatment was reduced in duration for children who drank cranberry juice.

2. Boost Heart Health

The active components in cranberry juice are known to have vasodilatory effects. Cranberry juice has been shown to have a vasodilatory effect, which can help loosen up tight blood vessels, alleviating hypertension (high blood pressure). 

USDA researchers tested the effects of sucralose-sweetened cranberry juice in a study with 30 female and 26 male participants. On administering the two participants for 8 weeks, cranberry juice reduced levels of 5 of the 22 cardiometabolic risk markers. In other words, they faced a decreased overall risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and stroke.

3. Improves Dental Health

Cranberry juice has a high concentration of antioxidants, which can help prevent tooth decay. In addition, because of cranberry juice, cavity-causing germs have more difficulty sticking to your teeth. Bacteria in the mouth produce plaque on teeth, and glucan is a crucial ingredient. Glucan molecules form the bulk of plaque and build up over time, resulting in tooth decay.

Cranberry juice's ability to block these enzymes can keep germs from accumulating into plaque. As a result, this juice can stop germs from attaching to your teeth when used with dental care products.

4. Improves Kidney Functions And Health

For years, people have turned to cranberry juice as a natural cure for urinary tract infections and kidney problems. In addition, the compounds found in cranberries have been shown to stop harmful bacteria and viruses from attaching to cells.

Calcium oxalate kidney stones are formed when oxalate ions interact with calcium. Daily use of 500 ml of cranberry juice decreased oxalate excretion in these individuals. In addition, the research found that citrate excretion increased while phosphate ion excretion decreased. 

To maintain proper kidney function, oxalate, citrate, and phosphate play essential roles. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), kidney calcification, nephritis, and other kidney diseases are all aided in their prevention by regular consumption of this juice.

5. Boosts Liver Health

In studies, cranberry extract was found to decrease liver fat. Regular cranberry extract can help humans maintain a healthier blood cholesterol and lipid profile. The HDL levels of participants who ingest this extract improve as a result. In addition, the expression of genes and substances that suppress inflammation is boosted.

Liver disease can be avoided with dietary cranberry extracts. It is one of the best drinks for liver detox. Liver diseases include steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

6. Combats Vaginal Infections

Women are more likely to have UTIs than males because of the proximity of the urethra to the vagina and anus. Also, the length of the urethra is shorter in women than in men. Therefore, while passing urine or sexual contact, these germs can spread from the anus to the urethra.

For this reason, women need to monitor their genital health. Cranberry prevents UTIs in many forms, and dietary modifications can naturally enhance immunity against multiple vaginal bacteria.

Cranberry polyphenols, especially proanthocyanidins, have been credited with demonstrating this quality. They suppress the spread of vaginal infections by blocking the ability of E. coli and Candida fungi to adhere to uroepithelial and vaginal epithelial cells.

7. Reduces Impact And Severity Of Diabetes 

Cranberry juice is a nutritious beverage that many people enjoy. Opting for pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, with a 1/2 cup (125 mL) serving, which provides around 15 grams of carbs from naturally occurring sugar, is beneficial for diabetics. Alternatively, you can choose a light, unsweetened cranberry juice for less sugar and calories.

8. Excellent Detox Drinks

Antioxidants, including phenolic acids and flavonoids, are abundant in cranberries. Cranberry juice's phenolics are credited with boosting antioxidant power. Therefore, oxidative stress is decreased significantly. In addition, cranberry juice is an excellent source of several nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and the antioxidant vitamins C, A, and K.

Therefore, your electrolyte levels will be restored after drinking this refreshing summer drink. The weight loss benefits of cranberry juice are often cited as well. However, there needs to be more data in the scientific community to back up this assertion.

9. Improves Gut Health

The digestive process and general intestinal health can both benefit from consuming cranberry extracts. This berry has powerful antibacterial properties that protect against pathogenic illnesses in the digestive tract.

Cranberry juice can potentially suppress the growth of several bacteria, including Helicobacter Pylori, Candida Albicans, Staphylococcus Aureus, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, and Escherichia Coli.

The anti-inflammatory effects of cranberries may be due to their proanthocyanidins, flavonols, and hydroxycinnamic acids, which work together to prevent bacterial adhesion and biofilm development.

These bioactive compounds also stimulate the expansion of gut bacteria by acting as a prebiotic on the stomach lumen. For this reason, cranberry juice is typically given to ill people. It is a nutrient-rich option and great for settling an upset tummy.

10. Reduces The Effect Of The Influenza Virus

Bacteria and humans cannot interact in the presence of cranberry juice. However, it was discovered in 2005 that the juice contains an active ingredient called NDM. Evidence suggests that this compound can disrupt influenza virus replication. It has been hypothesised that NDM can prevent the virus from attaching and replicating. According to the in-vitro results, NDM has the potential to attack critical influenza viral proteins.

Due to its effect on the multiplication of immune system cells (such as NT cells, T cells, etc.), this juice may also help prevent the onset of secondary bacterial problems. Consuming a glass of cranberry juice is like taking a shot at health.

Furthermore, its usefulness has been demonstrated in lab settings. These qualities are the result of well-characterised and investigated active components.

Do Cranberries Have Any Side-effects?

Here are some of the negative impacts of consuming cranberries:

  • “GRAS" is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe. Although cranberries have a GRAS status, giving them to young infants in large quantities can lead to stomachache and diarrhoea.
  • Cranberry juice concentrate is relatively high in oxalates. A high oxalate intake is associated with an increased risk of kidney stones. Therefore, people who are prone to kidney stones should stay away from anything containing cranberries.

How To Make Cranberry Juice At Home 

It is relatively simple to make fresh cranberry juice, and you can make your own by following these easy steps:

Ingredients

  • Cranberries- 1oz
  • Water- 1oz
  • Sweetener of choice: ½ to 1 cup (to taste)
    [Sugar, honey, pure cane syrup, agave nectar, or synthetic sweetener]
  • Boiling pot: Medium-large
  • Strainer or muslin cloth

Method

1. Fill a pot halfway with water and cranberries.

2. Bring to a low boil and cook until the cranberries pop. This should take approximately 10 minutes.

3. Drain the cranberry juice into a container using a fine strainer.

4. To extract the juice, squeeze the berries.

5. Allow the juice to cool.

6. Serve either hot or cold.

7. Cheers! delicious homemade cranberry juice is ready.

Dietician Recommendations

There is a lot of good nourishment in cranberries. We have previously covered several of the health advantages it provides. Cranberries have no established RDI, but you should consume 1–2 cups of the fruit or juice daily; if you also suffer from a UTI, you may boost that to 3 cups. Whole fruit may be used in many ways to improve one's diet. Raw in a salad with oatmeal or combined into a smoothie, they are incredibly versatile.

- Dietitian Lavina Chauhan

The Final Say

Dried cranberries, cranberry juice, and dietary supplements are common ways to consume this fruit. The unique plant compounds they contain and the vitamins and minerals they provide make them valuable food sources. 

FAQs

1. What is the best time to drink cranberry juice?

The best time to consume fresh cranberry juice is on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

2. Is it reasonable to drink cranberry juice before bed?

Yes. Cranberry juice before the night is an excellent idea. Melatonin, abundant in cranberry juice, is also known as the sleep hormone. Many people consciously choose to drink cranberry juice before bed as it makes them sleep earlier and better.

3. Are cranberries beneficial for the skin? 

Vitamin C and E may both be found in abundance in cranberries. As far as the skin is concerned, these vitamins provide various advantages. Vitamin C aids collagen formation and protects from sunburn and UV-induced photodamage. Elasticity and the ability to heal wounds depend on collagen. Cranberry’s vitamin E content makes them a potent antioxidant that can mitigate sunburn. 

4. Are cranberries helpful in weight loss? 

Cranberries are a rich source of antioxidants and contain beneficial fibre that can aid digestion and even aid weight loss. However, the advice of your nutritionist will be far better on this subject.

5. Is cranberry a citrus fruit? 

Cranberries can be compared to citrus fruits because of their taste. Still, they are a member of the Ericaceae family of berries. Citrus fruits, on the contrary, include oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, & tangerines.

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