Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Little Red Wonder That is a Cranberry

I was reading an article in a magazine at the doctor’s office that intrigued me, so I came home to do a little more research on this superfruit. I already knew cranberry juice was good to prevent a UTI infection, but I never knew why.

Long before modern man even knew what an antioxidant was, the American Indian was using them to make healing poultices. And now the cranberry is known because it is high in antioxidants and Vitamin C. The active ingredient in cranberry is the chemical compound proanthocyanidins, or PACs, which keep bacterial infections (including E-coli) from sticking to the bladder wall and thereby prevent urinary tract infections. Cranberries also possess quinic acid which may prevent kidney stones. Some studies have also shown that the proanthocyanidin compounds have cancer fighting properties.

While more research needs to be done, studies have also shown that drinking just one 8 ounce glass of pure cranberry juice will also suppress the growth of ulcer-causing bacteria, and the bacteria that causes plaque. In addition, there is evidence that this one glass can also reduce LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad one) while increasing the HDL cholesterol (that’s the good one).

What might be more encouraging to our aging population are the studies that show that diets high in antioxidants and other phytochemicals may prevent some of the signs of aging we all dread, such as loss of coordination and loss of memory.

For more information on this little berry, visit The Cranberry Institute.

Until next time, may you have blessings and cranberries,

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