Is cranberry juice good for you? Know the juice’s nutritional value, benefits, and risks in detail in this article and take informed decisions.
Is cranberry juice good for your health?
When you hear this question what health concerns come to your mind related to cranberry. Maybe you would think of a urinary tract infection. But it helps in prevention from this infection, right? So, it should be a good thing.
But is this medicinal juice limited to just UTI prevention? Or it has other benefits to offer as well.
You may not have known but the fruit and its juice have a lot to offer in terms of health benefits. For starters, it’s good for your eyes. Then, think of the aging issue. Don’t you want to age gracefully? Enter cranberry! The fruit helps with collagen production – the magical ingredient that slows down aging.
Do you need to know more benefits? Read this article to know what these benefits are and how to consume the fruit and its juice to get maximum results.
Should You Take Cranberry Juice Every Day?
Whenever you visit a urologist, cranberry juice makes an important part of the prescription you get. And the connection becomes even harder to miss. Cranberry juice has something to do with urinary tract health. And they ask you to drink it every day for the prescription period making you wonder if it’s okay for you to continue drinking it afterward.
If you want to drink the potion for restoration of gut health or prevention of certain illnesses, you are welcome to do that. There is no one best time to drink it so set your timings.
The only exception is for people who want to take it for the health of their urinary tract. They should only drink the unsweetened cranberry juice in the morning to avoid discomfort at night and during sleep.
The next question arises, ‘why would you want to take the juice every day?’
It’s simple! The juice contains many essential micro-nutrients that help our immune system against many potential ailments.
It has an ample amount of vitamin C. To begin with, the vitamin protects us from many diseases including cancer and strokes. It also guards us against common issues like the flu. But its benefits don’t end here.
The vitamin is also a crucial component that prompts collagen production in our bodies thus delaying and slowing the aging process.
Vitamin E is another key nutrient we get from this juice. Note that this vitamin ensures the quality of our life by boosting brain and heart performance and taking care of our skin.
It is also a renowned source of Vitamin A – a micro-nutrient related to improved vision. Moreover, it also helps with cell division, strengthening our immune system as a result.
Cranberry juice also gives vitamin K which helps our body to utilize the calcium we consume.
It doesn’t fall short on providing vitamin B complex as well. These vitamins are crucial for healthy skin and blood.
Among minerals, cranberries provide us with calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and selenium.
The first one of these maintains the health of bones and teeth. The second mineral – magnesium – helps in the production of protein, boosting the performance of the nervous system, and regulating blood pressure.
Iron is essential for oxygen absorption in blood and blood circulation. Zinc is an essential factor of various body systems including immunity system, thyroid health, and blood clotting. And selenium maintains metabolism.
Because of this abundance of micronutrients in the fruit, it is often included among superfoods by nutritionists and health professionals.
But don’t get me wrong. We are not talking about the juice that comes with added sweeteners. Those sugars deplete the nutritional value of the juice.
You are only going to get these nutrients and the benefits related to them if you take cranberry juice in its purest form. But that is not too easy. The fruit is sour and somewhat bitter. You may not like its taste and find it difficult to gulp this potion down thinking, ‘is cranberry juice acidic!’ By the way, if you really want to know, it is slightly acidic!
As we can see the primary effect of these nutrients is on the immunity system and healing of the body. Let’s just answer what cranberry juice is good for after combining all these essential micro-nutrients.
Cranberry Juice Benefits
The most quoted benefit of this superfood is its support to the urinary tract. No, this juice will not cure the infection your tract has already contracted but it will surely help you if you haven’t gotten the infection but are at risk to develop it. The juice gives an ample amount of proanthocyanidins which fight the bacteria responsible for UTIs.
Vitamin C is the most magical product of this juice. We have talked before, this vitamin helps with collagen production which translates into slowed aging. But that’s not all! This micronutrient in cranberry also helps with the preservation of DNA and cell vitality. In other words, the supplement helps with the prevention of cancer.
Also, cell vitality and DNA preservation lead to better heart health and a lower risk of strokes.
The same vitamin is responsible for synthesis of collagen – an essential ingredient that contains excessive aging.
This fruit also acts as a perfect antioxidant with various compounds present in its skin. These antioxidant compounds include myricetin, anthocyanins, quercetin, peonidin, and proanthocyanidins.
But beware that the juice may not give these anti-oxidating effects because it doesn’t contain the compounds found in the skin of the fruit. You may want to eat raw fruit if you want to get the most benefit out of it.
Better Heart Health
You can assume that from all the antioxidating benefits of the juice, it will be of help to the heart. You are right but the help doesn’t come just from the antioxidants present in it.
Instead, the anthocyanins’ just perfect amount prevents arteries from hardening. The juice is also linked to lower blood pressure and balanced cholesterol levels.
Improved Gut Health
If you are a frequent user of cranberry, you would notice that you enjoy better gut health. Moreover, the fruit is known to fight harmful bacteria in the stomach – Helicobacter pylori.
It is a common cause of stomach ulcers. Thus, by fighting these bacteria, the fruit indirectly prevents stomach ulcers from forming.
Improving Immunity System
Its services to our immune system are unforgettable. As we can see its proanthocyanidins compound is particularly helpful in fighting bacteria.
Plus, the consumption of this juice is linked to a visible reduction in oxidative stress that comes from free radicals. Its key ingredient – vitamin C – alone is linked with a boost in the immunity system.
The vitamin C present in its juice again takes the credit for eyesight improvement that comes from the fruit. It works alongside the antioxidants and helps the eyes in getting rid of free radicals. The result is a clear and strong vision.
Potential Side Effects
Be wary, cranberry juice is not for everyone. First, it’s acidic and sour. If you are too picky about your food, you may straight away reject taking it. Then, it may affect the function of your dietary tract.
So, if your digestive system is sensitive and you are prone to acid reflux, you may want to avoid this juice to avoid temporary annoyance.
The intake may also cause – again temporary – bowel movement issues.
You should also not take it with certain medications. Warfarin is one example which is a blood thinner. If the two potions combine, cranberry can dangerously magnify the former medicine’s effect.
If you don’t have an overly sensitive digestive tract nor are you using the blood thinner mentioned above, you should feel at ease using this natural source of vitamins and minerals. But consume it in moderation otherwise. Excess use of cranberry juice is linked to kidney stones development.
How to Consume Cranberry Juice?
If you are using it because it’s prescribed by your doctor, you should follow the timing and frequency mentioned in the prescription. You may continue after the period prescribed by the physician but I would confirm the use before continuing.
If you are consuming the juice to get its potential benefits and the vitamins it offers, there is nothing you should be worried about except the time you would keep using it. Again, the medicinal juice can cause kidney stones if used in excess. So, if you want to use it for a month or more, consult your doctor.
You can take it every day. If it’s not prescribed by the doctor, the highest frequency you should take for it is once a day.
There is no limit on the time you take it but don’t take it in the night if you are suffering from urinary issues. It may increase the symptoms at night causing you sleepless nights.
If you are a picky eater, you may want to use it in foods so as not to consume either pure or diet cranberry juice.
Note that, depending on the recipe, you may lose some nutritional benefits of the fruit as it works best when used pure.
Before you decide if cranberry is good for you or not, you should take note of the benefits and risks that accompany its consumption. For the record, the benefits of the juice – as well as the fruit – far outweigh its risks.
The ingredient should be a part of your lifestyle if you have a high risk of cancer and heart disease because of genetics. This medicinal juice is known for preventing these complications.