Cranberry supplements can be found in multiple stores or from a supplement catalogue and have a host of health benefits. While many people are familiar with the benefits they can provide to the urinary tract, they are unaware of the other positive impacts that cranberries may have on the body.
Blocking Urinary Tract Infections
The primary benefit associated with cranberry juice and supplements is the ability of the substances within it to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. The various compounds found in the supplements work to cleanse the walls of the bladder, ureter, and urethra; this washes away unhealthy bacteria and prevents the formation of infection. While cranberry products cannot generally cure an infection on their own, they can help to speed the recovery process and reduce some of the painful or uncomfortable symptoms associated with it.
Potential to Kill or Slow the Growth of Cancers
In laboratory studies, regular consumption of cranberry products was shown to reduce the growth of tumors or even stop them from growing altogether. While the results are still being tested and the research is only preliminary, there is enough information for scientists and health professionals to continue this research. Also, cranberry products were shown to effectively kill breast cancer cells in test tubes, but whether this would work in the human body is still unknown and has yet to be tested.
Eradication of H. Pylori Bacteria
H. Pylori is a bacteria that can be found in the human digestive tract. It can cause any number of irritating symptoms including nausea, heartburn, hives and potentially even stomach cancer if left untreated. To get rid of serious cases of H. Pylori, many physicians will prescribe antibiotics that have been proven effective in fighting it. However, preliminary studies are showing that regular consumption of cranberry juice greatly reduces the risks of developing the bacteria. Patients who have been diagnosed with H. Pylori and who are taking medication should speak with their physicians before beginning treatment with cranberry-based products.
Improve Cholesterol Levels
One of the most surprising benefits of cranberry products is their ability to raise the level of good cholesterol in the body—LDL—and diminish the bad types of cholesterol. The way this works is still relatively unknown, but it is thought that a substance found within cranberries, known as proanthocyanidine, is a natural plaque remover. Patients who consumed cranberry products daily over the course of a year noticed marked differences in their overall cholesterol levels when they paired this with a healthy diet.
Prevent Dental Disease
In the same way that cranberry products can remove buildup in the urinary tract and even the plaque in the arteries, it has also been shown to remove plaque from the teeth when consumed regularly. The same substance that is thought to be responsible for the increase in healthy cholesterol—proanthocyanidine—is thought to remove plaque from the teeth each time it is consumed. Patients should be careful when drinking over-sweetened cocktails, however, as this outweighs any benefits associated with consuming cranberries for good dental health.
It is evident that the benefits of consuming cranberries for overall better health are numerous. Before beginning any cranberry regimen — particularly individuals who are taking prescription medications or who have certain conditions — it is important to consult with a physician beforehand.