Cranberries are deep red berries, usually seen fresh in stores around Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s traditional to serve it as a sauce with the Thanksgiving turkey, and for the rest of the year it can be found as juice made from concentrate, in jams, and as a dried snack.
Raw cranberries are labelled as ‘Superfruits‘ because of the high volumes of antioxidants and other phytonutrients found within.
So what is cranberry juice good for?
7 Benefits of Cranberry Juice
1. Preventing Urinary Tract Infections (Cystitis)
Preventing UTIs is probably one of the best known cranberry juice benefits. It isn’t just an old wives’ tale either – there is some science which backs it up.
Studies have shown that regularly drinking cranberry juice may decrease the number of symptomatic UTIs, especially for women with recurring infections.
The harmful bacteria which causes a urinary tract infection sticks to the walls of the urinary tract, protecting them from your body’s cleaning mechanism and allowing them to multiply. Cranberry juice is thought to reduce this stickiness, allowing your natural defences to take care of it and reducing the number of infections you’ll have.
Cranberry juice does have its limitations though – it does not treat cystitis. But since the science is inconclusive, it won’t hurt to drink a couple of glasses a day if you have one.
2. Dental Health
Cranberry juice’s ability to reduce bacterial stickiness strikes again – this time in the mouth.
Cranberry juice slows the development of dental plaque by making it harder for bacteria to cling to your teeth. When exposed to cranberry juice, strains of oral streptococci became significantly less sticky in the presence of saliva.
The bacterium finds it harder to stick around and multiply, meaning dental plaque will grow at a lower rate.
Be careful with store-bought cranberry juice though – it is full of added sugar. To get the dental benefits of cranberry juice, remember to juice it yourself.
3. Cancer Prevention
It’s important to consume a variety of different fruits and vegetables because each have different antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and phytochemicals which protect us from cancer.
Oxidative stress and excessive inflammation at the cellular level can lead to the growth of cancerous cells when left unchecked. Our modern lifestyles and diet increases this activity, while robbing us of the correct nutrition which can counteract these effects.
The cancer preventing cranberry juice benefits come from its phytochemicals. They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties which reverse oxidative stress, inflammation and more activities which can lead to the growth of cancer.
4. Boosts Heart Health
The wide variety of phytochemicals found in cranberry juice also gives a helping hand to your heart.
The polyphenols found in cranberries, may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by increasing the resistance of LDL cholesterol to oxidation, inhibiting platelet aggregation, reducing blood pressure, and via other anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
5. Protection From The Flu
Its high Vitamin C content makes cranberry juice good for boosting your immune system. It also has useful anti-viral properties.
Cranberry juice helps prevent the influenza virus from sticking to your cells, meaning it will be harder for you to get the flu after coming into contact with the virus.
6. Anti-Aging Benefits
Cranberry juice is full of these, so you’re also helping protect and enhance your mind when you juice cranberries.
7. Better Looking Skin
Cranberry juice will also help give your skin a more youthful appearance by neutralizing the aging effect of free radicals. Burnt food, food additives and processed foods are all sources of free radicals, and we take in plenty from the environment too.
It can also help clear up acne when you add cranberry juice to a face pack. Simply add some to raw honey and mix it into a paste, apply to your face, and remove after 30 minutes.
Fresh or Store-Bought?
To get the full health benefits of cranberry juice, it’s always better to juice your own.
Before it makes it to the shelves, store-bought juice has been pasteurized – it has been heated to give it a longer shelf life. This heat destroys some of the nutrition, flavor and denatures valuable enzymes, leaving it a much weaker than when it started out.
Raw cranberries are classed as superfoods; processing them removes many of the cranberry juice benefits, meaning processed cranberries cannot be classed as superfoods.
It also has a bunch of harmful additives thrown in – preservatives as well as colorings and flavorings to give it that cranberry look and taste. Water’s usually thrown in also to cut down on the amount of cranberries they actually need, plus lots of sugar – freshly juiced cranberries are actually very tart.
Cranberries can be juiced quickly and easily too. If you don’t have a juicer yet, our guide to buying a juicer will help you find the best one for your budget and needs. All of the juicers on our list juice cranberries well.
If you’re wondering how to make cranberry juice, simply wash and pour your whole cranberries into your juicer. The video a little bit below this has a demonstration.
Cranberry Juice Recipes
Cranberry – Apple Juice
2 cups Cranberries
Cranberry – Ginger – Orange Juice
2 cups Cranberries
1 thumb Ginger
Cranberry – Pineapple Juice
2 Cups Cranberries