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Thursday, 3 May 2012

The health benefits of cranberry juice

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Cranberry juice is a tasty drink with many health benefits for all ages. It contains many valuable nutrients that manifest their important functions in our body. A glass or two a day is a positive step toward a health lifestyle. Cranberry juice is highly effective in the treatment of heart disease, cancer, urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections. Additionally, a healthy dose of dietary fiber, antioxidants and phytochemical nutrients help to protect you against aging and unhealthy gastrointestinal conditions. These benefits will be discussed in more details here

Functions in cardiovascular diseasesResearch has shown that cranberries offer a lot of heart-healthy benefits. Cranberries are known to help lower your total cholesterol levels, including your LDL, increase your blood flow, reduce your risk of developing heart disease or stroke. In one study, researchers found that dringking three glasses of cranberry juice per day raised good cholesterol 10%, which in turn decreased their risk of heart disease by 40%.
Cranberry juice inhibits low density lipoprotein oxidation, thus offering a natural defense against atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis results from the accumulation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) in arteries which lead to restricted blood flow. In the advance stages of the disease blood flow may decrease severely or cease completely resulting in angina (chest pain), a thrombosis (blood clot) and/or myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Providing antioxidants
Research results indicated that there would be compelling evidence that cranberry can help protect the brain from neurological damage. The antioxidant benefits were significant with just one or two glasses a day. Antioxidants are compounds that are naturally manufactured by the body and/or are ingested from food and drinks. Antioxidants, in small amounts, will slow or prevent the oxidation process through their ability to stabilize free radicals by donating an electron, and at the same time, do not become free radicals themselves. Flavonoids and polyphenols are powerful antioxidants found in cranberries and other fruits that fall under the berry family. These antioxidants in cranberry juice can help prevent or fix the damage to your cells and lower your risk for cancer or infection and improve your immune system functions. Under some stressful conditions, the human body's ability to produce antioxidants can become severely impaired. Cranberries or cranberry juice can serve as a good source of supplemental antioxidants and protect our bodies from harmful molecules we are exposed to every day of our lives

Urinary and Respiratory Infections
Urinary tract infections are usually caused by a strain of E coli bacteria. Some of the compounds in cranberry juice block the bacteria from sticking to the cells in the body, so that the body can more easily flush the bacteria out.
Study results in 2002 suggest that cranberry juice may inhibit a type of bacteria that is a common cause of ear and respiratory infections in children. In this study, the scientists found that cranberry juice can inhibit certain strains of Haemophilus influenzae, a type of bacteria found in the nose and throat of 75% of healthy children and adults. The bacteria can also cause infections, and may be responsible for up to 40% of bacterially-derived middle ear infections. It was found that the juice could prevent certain strains of the bacteria from sticking to red blood cells or mouth cells, which allow the bacteria to linger in the body. It seemed that the juice inhibited the bacteria's pili, the hair-like structures that allow them to adhere to surfaces.
Proanthocyanidins (PACs), a compound contained in many fruits including cranberries, grapes, apples, tea, and chocolate, up to now only the PACs of cranberries and blueberries, have been shown to exhibit this effect to block bacteria from sticking.

Cranberries Can Prevent Certain Types of Cancer
Incorporating cranberries into your diet can prevent certain kind of cancers. The reason can also be explained by antioxidant functions. Anti-aging benefits are another reason why the cranberry juice diet deserves some merit.

Cranberries Can Prevent Gum Disease and CavitiesDrinking cranberry juice can prevent gum disease and cavities. Rich with Vitamin C, the high amount of acid and other beneficial components, cranberry juice can help break down and prevent the formation of kidney stones. The adhesion of the different types of bacteria that cause periodontal gum disease has been shown to be inhibited by cranberry juice consumption.

Cranberries Can Help Prevent and Cure Stomach Conditions
The same type of bacteria is responsible for stomach ulcer and cancer and certain gastrointestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Drinking cranberry juice can protect yourself against developing any of these conditions and many believe that you can even "cure" ulcers or symptoms experienced due to stomach conditions.

In conclusion, cranberry juice has many health benefits, drink one to three cups of cranberry juice every day can significantly improve your health condition