Health Benefits of Cranberries

Did You Know… that a very special super berry can help prevent dental disease, cancer, colds, flus, and obesity?

Chances are when we say cranberry, you think urinary tract infection (UTI).  But cranberries provide health benefits far beyond their ability to treat UTIs.  Recent research suggests that cranberries help prevent and treat dental disease, colds and flus, prostate cancer, and even the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Cranberries vs. Candida Albicans 

Candida albicans is a naturally occurring fungus in the body.  At appropriate levels, it is harmless, but a harmful overgrowth of candida albicans can result from antibiotics, stress, high sugar diets, and a lack of fermented foods rich in probiotics.  And the overgrowth is unfortunately protected by a defense shield called a biofilm, or germ gang.  Cranberries, however, have a unique antioxidant makeup of polyphenols and proanthyocyanidins that can effectively prevent the development of these protective biofilms.

For instance, candida breeds biofilms in the mouth that lead to periodontal disease.  A study published in Pathogens and Disease in April 2014 found that cranberry extract, even in low amounts, blocked the formation of biofilms and kept candida from attaching to the dental mucosal surface.  Other studies have found that extracts of cranberry inhibit plaque formation and cavities.

Cranberries vs. the Cold and Flu

Cranberries give your immune system a friendly boost by improving T-cell function. T-cells regulate virtually every aspect of the immune response.  Mainstream media certainly doesn’t report it, but cranberries are a natural alternative to flu vaccines.  They have been proven to help prevent cells from being infected by influenza virus A and influenza virus B.  Cranberry extract has also been shown to reduce the intensity of the flu and protect against other viral and bacterial infections such as cholera and pneumonia.

Cranberries vs. Metabolic Syndrome

Primary symptoms of metabolic syndrome include insulin resistance—when your insulin receptors can’t take in insulin.  This causes your blood sugar to skyrocket, leading to weight gain and obesity.  An animal study from July of this year suggests that cranberries may protect against these symptoms.  Cranberry extract…

Mediated the effects of a high sugar/high fat diet
Prevented weight gain and visceral obesity
Increased insulin sensitivity
Reduced intestinal inflammation
Protected against oxidative stress

Other Health Benefits of Cranberries

Cranberries don’t just boost your T-cells—they also improve the function of Natural Killer cells responsible for wiping out certain leukemia cells.  Studies have also shown that cranberry extract helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer while having a beneficial effect on prostate cancer cells.  One study found that men who went through radiation therapy for prostate cancer had less bladder inflammation, stronger urine flow, and less discomfort when they supplemented with cranberry extract.