Scientists Discover How Cranberries Prevent Bladder Infections
By Rod Newbound, RN, Anti-Aging Expert
Although it’s been known for several years that cranberries can prevent urinary tract infections, up until now, the exact mechanism has remained a mystery. But in a newly published study, scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute say they’ve discovered the secret.
They found that virulent bacteria, like the kind that create urinary tract infections, have hair-like projections called fimbriae that attach to the wall of the bladder. Their studies showed that even low concentrations of cranberry juice created a thermodynamic energy shield that keeps these nasty creatures from getting a foothold.
No Harm To Friendly Bacteria
Because the good bacteria don’t have these fimbriae, they aren’t affected. This is important, because our bodies have billions of good bacteria that provide protection from such gut wrenching disease organisms like Clostridium difficile.
Unpublished work also shows cranberry juice has potent effects on disease-causing bacteria, but that the effect is temporary. This suggests that in order to have continuous protection; you will need to consume some form of cranberry regularly – perhaps daily.
Cranberries, a Superfood You Should Enjoy Year Round
- Cranberries are higher in antioxidants than strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries. With 8,983 total antioxidant capacity per cup, only cultivated blueberries outrank them.
- Besides being naturally high in Vitamin C, cranberries also contain calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfer, vitamin A, vitamin B-1, Vitamin B-2, vitamin B-3, vitamin B-5, vitamin E, and zinc.
- Rich in a dozen phytochemicals (phytonutrients). Phytochemicals work in a number of different ways to prevent disease, even cancer.
- Proanthocyanidins present in cranberries are responsible for their anti-adhesion properties. In addition, these proanthocyanidins promote dental health since they inhibit the bacterial growth that causes plaque.
- A 2001 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed this red berry (in its pure form) contained the highest quantity of disease-fighting phenols, a type of antioxidant that is thought to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke and heart disease.
- Cranberries are also a good source of resveratrol, the component of red wine that makes it so good for you.
How to Get Your Cranberries Without Terrorizing Your Body With High Calorie Sugars
- Sugar is not only highly addictive; it’s absorbed directly into the blood stream from your stomach, which upsets the natural chemical balance of your body. In addition, sugar has zero nutrient value.
- Pure fresh cranberries have only 45 calories per cup, but when sugar is added, the result tips the scale…
- 140 calories from 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries. Note: Craisins (by Ocean Spray) is sweetened with sugar, but Eden Foods offers dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice. Same amount of calories, but better for you.
- 130 calories from 8 oz. of cranberry juice cocktail (sweetened with sugar)
5 calories from 8 oz. of Ocean Spray diet cranberry juice cocktail (sweetened with fruit juice and Sucralose). Note: Since research has shown Sucralose can cause the thymus gland to shrink, I wouldn’t recommend it. The thymus is important to your immune system.
- 258 calories from 1/3 cup of jellied cranberry sauce
- After an exhaustive search, I finally found unsweetened dried cranberries at Purcell Mountain Farms.
Action Plan: Add the Thanksgiving fruit to your weekly diet. Try them in salads, muffins, pancakes, breads, cheese spreads, on peanut butter sandwiches, etc. You can find unsweetened cranberry juice at some health food stores.
Since it’s very sour, you can either sweeten it with honey (heat them in a sauce pan until the honey dissolves into the juice), dilute with equal parts of pure blueberry juice (blueberries prevent bladder infections likely through the same mechanism) or make cranberry vinaigrette to serve on your salads.
Rod Newbound is a 58 year old Registered Nurse who teaches his patients how to live longer and better. Stop by AntiAgingHacks.com for more great Anti-Aging Tips!
“Healthy longevity – the adventure of your life.”