Cranberry Linked to a Reduced Risk of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

By Amy Taylor on July 10, 2012

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), which is native to America has been used for both culinary and medical purposes, for a very long time. It is an evergreen shrub related to bilberry, huckleberry, and blueberry. In the UK, it is used to treat a variety of diseases including stomach ache, loss of appetite, scurvy, and blood disorders.

There are many food products (even supplements) that feature these nutritious and delicious fruit. In fact, only 5% of cranberries are sold fresh. The remaining 95% are processed into juice, jams, and other food products.

Cranberry has long been linked to the treatment of kidney-related problems. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it was found that consuming cranberry products helps prevent the development of urinary tract infection.

Cranberry for UTI

A group of researchers from the National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine looked into several published studies to re-evaluate the effects of cranberry-containing products to the prevention of UTI.

They found that women with recurring urinary tract infections benefited from consuming cranberry products more than twice a day. The same is true with children and cranberry juice drinkers. The researchers investigated 13 trials which involved 1,616 individuals. They saw a risk ratio of 0.62 between cranberry consumers and non consumers. But because of the substantial heterogeneity across trials, the researchers warned that their conclusions should be interpreted with caution. The effects of cranberry-containing products against UTI were found significant only in certain populations.

Many studies have been carried out in the past to find out whether or not cranberry can really aid in the prevention of urinary tract infection. Said condition is caused by bacteria called Escherichia coli, most commonly known as E. coli. Before, scientists believed that cranberry helps prevent UTI by making the urine acidic enough to kill the bacteria, but emerging studies suggest that it actually prevents the bacteria from sticking to the walls of urinary tract.

Interesting Health Facts about Cranberries

 

•   Cranberries are super high in antioxidants, particularly the so called proanthocyanidins (which is responsible for the fruit’s vibrant colour). Antioxidants help maintain good health by neutralising free radicals that cause damage to cell membranes. 

•   Cranberries are also rich in vitamin C, and are believed to have high infection-fighting properties.

•   Many people use cranberries to pacify asthma attack. It is believed that this fruit contain asthma-fighting properties similar to anti-asthma drugs..

•   England sailors used cranberries to fight scurvy.

•   One cup of fresh cranberries contains 50 calories.

 

 

Source of this article:

Cranberry-Containing Products for Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections in Susceptible PopulationsA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, Archives of Internal Medicine

 

 

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