Cranberry Cures

by Karen Brooks on March 15, 2010

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I have always loved the sweet tartness of cranberry juice and totally prefer it to apple and grape. To me, it has always been one of the most refreshing of beverages, so drinking down liters of it when battling a urinary tract infection never bothered me in the least. Now new research has come out that explains what exactly it is in those tart little guys that does such wonders for UTIs (its truly incredible how well it works). Turns out that (according to the Journal of Medicinal food), in addition to the D-Mannose in cranberries (a sugar) that makes up part of a key glycoprotein, there are chemicals in cranberries that prevent infection-causing bacteria from attaching to the cells that line the urinary tract, and not the acidity of cranberry juice and they are called proanthocyanidins (PACs). These PACs apparently prevent E. coli, which is the bacteria that causes about 85% of UTIs and 90% of acute pyelonephritis cases, from sticking to bladder surface cells by affecting the surface properties of the bacteria.

Researchers exposed E. coli to either light cranberry juice cocktail or cranberry PACs and measured the adhesion forces between the bacteria and a silicon surface; they found that the longer the bacteria were exposed to either, the greater the decrease in bacterial attachment. Cranberries, which are one of only three species of fruits native to North America, have a long history of medicinal food use with Native Americans, who used the fruit to treat bladder and kidney ailments. Recent studies have found even more benefits: cranberry might be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease by reducing the oxidation of blood cholesterol that makes it sticky in the arteries.

Cranberries have also been tested for a wide range of other conditions fighting stomach ulcers, cystitis and some other cancers due to its A-type proanthocyanidins, which are found only in this fruit. Other studies have found this chemical to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in lung cancer, colon cancer and leukemia, all involving different types of cancer cell. Amazing stuff!

About the Author

Danie moore is an herbal and natural health specialist. To read more of his articles, visit http://www.daniemoore.com/

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