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Cranberry – fruit with the miraculous properties

Żurawina w syropie

Cranberries come from North America. Their fruits were used for different purposes, e.g. as a medicament or to preserve other products, e.g. meat.

A season for cranberries is very short that is why it is most often consumed in a processed form. Of course, fresh cranberries are the best, however, it is difficult to get them on our market. But you can easily provide yourself with dried cranberries, jams and juices, or pharmaceutical products containing dried cranberries concentrate.

Urinal system

For millennia cranberries were valued as a natural remedy for infections of the urinal system. In 1994 there was conducted a scientific research including 153 women, which proved that cranberries help in preventing urinal system infections. In the research, women consuming cranberry juice caught urinal system infections two times less often than those, who received placebo.
The protective effect of cranberry juice results from:

  • acidification of urine
  • hippuric acid content, which has an antibacterial effect
  • content of elements impeding the adhesion of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria to the walls of the urinary tract.


Before the infection, E. coli bacteria have to “stick” to the walls of the urinary tract. Substances contained in cranberries effectively prevent them from doing that. Thanks to that, the bacteria are washed out with urine. As 80-90% of urinal system infections are caused by bacteria, the protection provided by cranberries is quite significant.



Prevention

The latest researches showed that the substances included in cranberries:

  • have a positive effect on the digestive system and oral cavity,
    Not only the urinal system gets infected by the adhesion of bacteria to host’s tissues. Cranberry’s capacity of limiting the adhesion of bacteria was also confirmed in case of other bacteria. It was stated that its fruits have the probiotic properties – they support the development of beneficial intestinal micro-flora, destroying harmful bacteria.
  • It was also proved that cranberry fruits prevent creation of plaque, support efficiency of treatment for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori),
    Drinking cranberry juice significantly supports destroying of H. pylori bacteria, the main cause of gastric ulcer disease. In that case antibiotic therapy is more effective, if you drink cranberry juice.
  • It prevents creation of kidney stones,
    Cranberry fruits contain quinic acid. It is special, because it is excreted from our organisms in urine in an unchanged form. Its presence causes that urine has a slightly acidic pH, which prevents combining calcium and phosphorus ions in solid compounds. Therefore, it prevents creation of kidney stones.
  • Reduces concentration of LDL cholesterol and increases concentration of HDL cholesterol,
    As we know, low concentration of HDL cholesterol is a common factor of cardiovascular diseases risk. It was found that regular drinking of cranberry juice increases the level of HDL. Researches showed that antioxidants contained in cranberry fruits prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol, especially in case of men.
  • They help in recovery after myocardial infarction,
    Researchers claim that cranberry juice does not prevent myocardial infarction, however, it can reduce its scope, and therefore, its health consequences.
  • It prevents cancerous diseases,
    Researches in this scope are not very advanced, however, their results are quite promising. The effect results from high content of antioxidants in cranberry fruits.
  • They fight herpesvirus (type HSV-2), contributing to formation of genital herpes,
    For now, it was only proved in laboratory tests, however, we hope that studies with participation of people will confirm it. The mechanism is similar as in case of preventing urinal system infections. It impedes penetration and adhesion of viruses to tissues.


Contraindications

Unfortunately, despite its beneficial properties cranberry is not for everyone. Firstly, it contains oxalates. If their concentration is too high, they tend to crystallize. Therefore, people with existing and untreated kidney stones should avoid products containing that substance. Moreover, the oxalates impede intestinal absorption of calcium. For that reason, consumption of cranberries is not recommended for people with osteoporosis. Secondly, cranberries should be avoided by people taking medicines containing warfarin, which is an anticoagulant. The substances contained in cranberries impede excretion of warfarin from the organism, which intensifies its effect and may cause haemorrhages.

Cranberry consumed as an element of a varied diet has a beneficial effect on health. It has a therapeutic (in case of urinal system diseases), but most of all preventive effect.

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