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The fruit of health: the Cranberry



Cranberries have a high water content as well as a high sugar content. Berries contain fiber, minerals, and vitamins A, B, and C. The non-digestible fibrous compounds are able to regulate some metabolic functions. Due to their low sodium content and fair amount of potassium, cranberries have a fair diuretic effect. Within the American cranberry are several active ingredients: digestive tonic organic acids, myrtillin, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins and anthocyaninins, tannites, catechins, omega 3 and omega 6, phytosterols, tocopherols and tocotrienols. The organic acids that give the berries a sour taste represent a large blood spillover of alkaline bicarbonates, which counteract blood acidification. Another nutritional characteristic of cranberry is definitely the antioxidant capacity due to the presence of pigments, which accumulate in the outer layers of the berries. A number of dietary supplements, sold in supermarkets, pharmacies and herbalist shops, are also made from cranberries.


Almost all cranberry drinks contain about 25 percent pure juice. Undiluted natural juice has a pH of at least 2.5, and without the addition of sugar the taste tends to be unpleasant to the palate. Cranberry juice blended with agave extract has an excellent reputation as a nutraceutical because of its nutritional components. A dose of 70 ml of juice is recommended to enjoy the beneficial effects of cranberry. Regular intake turns out to be an easy and tasty aid to counteract arterial degeneration and osteoporosis.


Indians used the cranberry both as a food and as a medicine. Sailors, on the other hand, consumed blueberries to fight scurvy. There are so many recognized healing properties of cranberry that it has interested so many medical and scientific studies. Blueberry berries protect and strengthen vessel walls due to the presence of anthocyanosides. In addition, these small fruits are rich in an antioxidant first discovered in grapes that plays an important role in reducing “bad” cholesterol. The tannites in cranberry act on bacteria. This mechanism helps prevent infection. It is bound to the proanthocyanidin subfraction that contains oligomers in which epicatechin units are bound together.


Anthocyani or anthocyanins are water-soluble plant pigments of the flavonoid family, found in plants in the form of glycosides. The production and quantity of flavonoid pigments, which are easily recognized in flowers, fruits, shrubs and leaves, depend on the type of plant and outdoor conditions. Anthocyanins are present in large amounts in fruits and inflorescences, but can also be found on leaves and roots. The color can vary from red to blue to violet, depending on the pH in the medium in which they are found and the formation of salts with heavy metals. Regarding antioxidant properties, anthocyanins are known for this characteristic and prevent cardiovascular disorders, obesity, inflammatory responses, and cancerous proliferations.


Cranberry is used as a natural antiseptic to prevent and treat urinary infections. Its benefits were initially attributed to urine acidification. Then, some researchers have shown that blueberry can inhibit bacterial adhesion to urinary epithelial cells. In 1998, Howell identified proanthocyandins as the active components of cranberry that can prevent the adhesion of fimbriae of uropathogenic Escherichia coli strains to the urinary epithelium, protecting it from infection.


In urinary tract infections, the bacteria colonize the colon, pass through the periurethral/vaginal zonus, and ascend the urinary tract, bringing an infection to the bladder and then to the kidneys. Cranberry proanthocyanidins help prevent infection and bacterial colonization.

Source: The Cranberry – A fruit that never ceases to amaze by Mediserve


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