Surprising Effects of Drinking Cranberry Juice, Says Science
Drinking juice has quite a complicated history. While some health gurus try drinking juices to "detox the body," others say juice is packed with too much sugar. However, in many cases, drinking a portioned about of certain types of 100% fruit juice can actually benefit your health in many ways by providing your body with necessary vitamins and antioxidants—and cranberry juice is definitely one of them. But what are some of the effects of drinking cranberry juice?
While drinking cranberry juice has become a common suggestion for womanly health, there are other incredible effects for all people to benefit from. Here are a few that will likely convince you to grab a bottle on your next grocery run. Then, for even more healthy drinking tips, check out our list of the 5 Best Juices to Slow Aging.
As a side note, it's important to pay attention to the type of cranberry juice you're drinking. You'll want to look for brands that say 100% juice and those that contain zero added sugars. Be weary of juices called "cranberry cocktail" because these are oftentimes just loaded with added sugars and very little of the actual fruit itself.
Cranberry juice gives you a dose of vitamin C.
When most people think of vitamin C, their minds may go straight to a cup of orange juice. And while OJ is a great source of this vitamin, cranberry juice is actually an excellent source as well. According to the USDA, cranberry juice has 23.5 milligrams per cup, which is 26% of your recommended daily value.
Getting adequate levels of vitamin C is important for a multitude of reasons. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, this vitamin can help you heal from both wounds and infections, can boost your immune system, and functions as a powerful antioxidant. National Institutes of Health says that vitamin C is also necessary in the production and synthesis of collagen in the body. So, don't hesitate to grab a glass of 100% cranberry juice to sip on today.
You'll get a boost of antioxidants.
Along with being nutrient-dense and filled with vitamin C, cranberry juice is also known to be a great source of antioxidants.
"[They are] well-understood to be one of nature's superfoods, containing tiny bioactive compounds called polyphenols, which have been shown through more than 50 years of research to provide numerous health benefits," says Audrey Perkins, senior manager at Ocean Spray with a master's in nutrition.
A report from Advances of Nutrition proves that cranberry antioxidants can positively affect "blood pressure, glucose metabolism, lipoprotein profiles, oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial function." Cranberry juice, in particular, is a powerful way to get these antioxidants. A study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also found that cranberry juice consumption can improve the health of those with coronary artery disease.
Cranberry juice can help UTI health.
If your mother ever told you to drink cranberry juice for your health, she wasn't wrong. This juice can, in fact, positively affect your urinary tract health, decreasing your risk of developing infections. "The unique combination of polyphenols found in cranberries have anti-adhesion properties that can help prevent certain bacteria from sticking within the body and help maintain urinary tract for UTI health," says Perkins.
Another study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated women who drank 8 ounces of cranberry juice a day and found it reduced their risk of recurring UTIs by 40%. The FDA soon followed with a recommendation for women to consume cranberry juice regularly.
According to Perkins, following that study's recommendation and consuming at least one 8-ounce serving of cranberry juice a day—such as the Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail—can help reduce the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections in healthy women.
It can benefit gut health.
Lastly, according to Perkins, research suggests the consumption of cranberry products can also help to maintain a balance of good bacteria in your gut—which is important for decreasing the risk of developing all kinds of diseases including metabolic diseases, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, bone disease, Alzheimer's, and more.
One animal-based study from Gut shows the positive benefits of polyphenol-rich cranberry extract, which positively benefits the microflora population in the gut and reduced intestinal inflammation. Chronic inflammation increases the risk of many diseases, so it's important to keep inflammation levels low in the body.
Cranberry juice can decrease oxidative stress.
"The powerful oxidative stress-reducing properties of cranberry polyphenols have been shown to reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and help with heart health," says Perkins.
A study from the British Journal of Nutrition confirms, stating the consumption of cranberry juice for study participants over a 60-day period resulted in improved cardiovascular risk factors due to the cranberry's oxidative stress-reducing properties. This report also states the importance of reducing oxidative stress in the body because of its connection to increasing risk of atherosclerosis—the buildup of cholesterol or fat in the artery walls—in those who are insulin resistant.
A previous version of this story was published on July 3, 2022. It has been updated to include additional copy and proofreading revisions, additional research, and updated contextual links.
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