Cranberries are related to blueberries and bilberries. And like these two berries they contain really high levels of antioxidants (they are higher in antioxidants than most fruit and vegetables!) Antioxidants protect the cells in our bodies against free radical damage which causes oxidative stress. ‘Oxidative stress is believed to lead to the development of the most prevalent and chronic diseases and disorders.’ When our bodies have a good level of antioxidants from the foods we eat or supplements we take they are able to balance the free radicals and prevent chronic disease from occurring. Cranberries are also packed with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber and have been used in traditional medicine for many years.
The most well know benefit of the cranberry is that it can prevent and treat urinary tract infections which are caused by the E. coli bacteria. Cranberry fruit contains a specific phytonutrient that can prevent E. coli bacteria attaching to the inner surface lining of the bladder and urinary tract. Drinking pure cranberry juice or taking a cranberry supplement can reduce the risk of UTI’s (urinary tract infections). They can be a good alternative to taking an antibiotic for treatment of UTI’s too. The phytonutrients in cranberries have also been shown to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease by preventing the bacteria that causes it from binding to the teeth.
Cranberries are really helpful in reducing inflammation. Inflammation can lead to many chronic conditions in our bodies, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, eczema to name a few! The phytonutrients found in cranberries act as anti-inflammatories reducing the levels of free radicals that cause havoc in our bodies.
Another very important benefit of the cranberry is that they are extremely beneficial to our digestive tract and our immune system. The proanthocyanidins found in cranberries are believed to help balance the healthy bacteria and reduce the levels of harmful bacteria in our gut from growing, particularly in those who eat meat and dairy. I have mentioned in a past blog post the importance of looking after our gut health - our gut is after all home to majority of our immune system. Cranberries also contain a good amount of vitamin C which can help the immune system function more effectively in times of illness. Along with balancing the good bacteria in our gut, cranberries help with water retention by acting as a natural diuretic.
FSC’s Cranberry Concentrate is an excellent option when investing in a cranberry supplement. Make sure you speak to your Doctor first if you are on blood thinning drugs as they could enhance the drugs effect.