The cranberry has been dubbed a "superfood", thanks to its high content of immune-boosting nutrients and antioxidants.
What are its health benefits?
Aside from antioxidant properties, cranberries reportedly also have the following health benefits. They help:
- Prevents urinary tract infections (UTIs): It’s recommended by health practitioners that you drink cranberry juice to prevent bladder infections, particularly if you struggle with recurrent infections. However, do take note that it doesn’t treat an existing infection. These berries may fight off this infection thanks to their high level of proanthocyanidins (PACs), which helps stop bacteria attaching to the urinary tract walls. Do take note, however, that they can’t treat an existing infection.
- Prevent Helicobacter pylori infections: Evidence suggests that PACs prevent this type of bacteria from causing infections in the stomach that lead to ulcers.
- Promote dental health: Studies show that a cranberry’s PACs may also prevent bacteria in teeth and help prevent gum disease.
- Lower your blood pressure: Researchers have reported that the polyphenols in these berries may reduce blood pressure and therefore may even reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Cranberries make a great addition to a healthy diet too, as half a cup of these powerful red berries contains a mere 105 kilojoules.
What is the nutritional breakdown of a cranberry?
The high fibre content in cranberries can contribute to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity and help with weight loss.
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)
Cranberries can be eaten, drunk as pure juice or in a juice cocktail or smoothie, and are also available in extract or tablet form.
No recommended daily intake has been established. However, to prevent a bladder infection, clinical studies show that a daily intake of 226 to 284g should be effective.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a typical diet should limit fruit juice to no more than half a cup daily, due to the high sugar content in the fruit.
When it comes to taking cranberry in tablet or extract form, be sure to abide by the guidelines on the packaging.
Know the overdose risks
Eating too many cranberries may result in an upset stomach or diarrhoea.
People with a history of kidney stones should talk to their doctor about including cranberries in their diet, as it’s been reported that they may lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Also, evidence has shown that if you’re on the blood-thinning drug warfarin and your cranberry intake is high, there is a risk for increased bleeding.
Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.
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