Cranberry juice is basically the juice of cranberry. It is best known to fight against Urinary Tract Infection. Apart from this, it is helpful in cancer, tooth decay, ulcer, scurvy, boosting immunity etc.
The term, however, when used on its own, usually refers to the sweetened version usually available in the form of cans or cartons in the market.
The unsweetened or just the extract of the juice is also can be found at many grocery stores and contains on an average, approximately 70 calories per cup.
What Is It Useful For?
In a 2010 study, it was found that the ingredients of cranberry juice limit the ability of E. coli bacteria (the main reason to cause UTIs) from clinging to other bacteria.
Without other bacteria, E. coli’s ability to grow and reproduce becomes limited.So, it can be said that cranberry juice stops further infections, but it is not a cure for UTIs.
Health Benefits Of Cranberry Juice
Now that we have learned what cranberry juice is, what content it’s made up of, and how to make it, let’s have a look at the health benefits of cranberry juice or its extracts.
1. Anti-Tumor Properties
The polyphenolic compounds forming a part of cranberry have anti-tumor effects. Regular consumption of its juice apparently tends to stop the development and to spread of tumors in lungs, breasts, prostate and the colon.
The presence of salicylic acid helps in reducing the swelling and prevents the forming of blood clotting which may eventually lead to the formation of a tumor.
2. Improvement Of Cardiovascular Health
Cranberry juice has been known to lower the risk of developing heart-related diseases or conditions and improving your cardiovascular health.
The flavonoids and antioxidants that are a part of cranberries help in reducing the threats of atherosclerosis, a condition wherein the arteries get constrained due to the storage of fat in them.
This will obstruct the flowing of oxygen-rich blood to numerous parts of the body which are known for causing a heart attack or stroke.
Compounds like this found in the cranberry suppress the oxidation of lower-dense lipoprotein and help in encouraging the formation of blood platelets.
3. Combating Tooth Decay
Cranberry juice is known for preventing tooth decay. Proanthocyanidin, a type of polyphenol which is found in cranberry, stops the growth of bacteria, those which cause plaque and also helps in preventing the decaying of teeth owing to the development of cavities.
A good dental hygiene with a moderate inclusion of cranberry juice in diet disrupts the mechanism by which pathogenesis work, promoting a better dental health.
The juice which is not sweetened decreases the causing of the bacteria found in the mouth and parallel in combating bad breath. A healthy dosage of the juice ensures cleanest teeth at any time.
4. Fighting Cancer
Including cranberry juice in the everyday diet can even help in the occurrence or prevention of certain types of cancers. The proanthocyanidin content helps stop the growth of cancer cells in the body.
Studies have successfully concluded that diet rich in flavonoids decreased the risk of cancer and mortality due to the richness of flavonoids.
The anti-carcinogenic compounds forming a part of the juice hindered to the growth of cancer cells, specifically those causing colon and prostate cancer.
It not only hinders the growth of microtumors in blood cells but also prevents their unrestrained increment. Certain chemicals in cranberries thwart the cause of breast cancer too.
5. Fighting Common Infections
Cranberry juice is found effective for help in curing common infections like cold, influenza and sore throat. It also soothes the respiratory tract and restrains the growth of certain strains of Haemophilus influenza which is most common cause of respiratory and ear infections in young children.
Several types of research indicate that the juice protects the brain from causing neurological damage and other similar brain-related diseases.
The flavonoid compound parts of the juice decrease the risk of developing any stomach disorders such as peptic ulcers by restricting the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria are known to causes infections in the stomach.
A study revealed that people who consumed cranberry juice reported two times the relief in comparison to them who didn’t consume it.
The high levels of vitamin C contained in cranberry juice is very vital for the production of collagen in the body that is responsible for the proper functioning of the tissues.This helps you in preventing the occurrence of scurvy and such other diseases
8. Soothes Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory qualities of cranberry work very well in treating any kind of inflammation or swelling, specifically lung inflammations, caused due to the influenza virus.
Non-dialyzable compounds present in cranberries obstruct the virus and stop it from sticking to the cells, thereby preventing infections.
9. Weight Loss
Cranberry has an emulsifying effect on fats stored in your body which, in turn, helps you in losing weight. Owing to its fiber contents, there comes a tendency to stay satiated for longer periods of time.
10. Boosting Immunity
The juice is rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals promote a healthier immune system.It will also ease the symptoms of age-related problems such as loss of memory, lack of coordination.
11. Curing Yeast Infections
Cranberries are also known to curb a rare type of yeast infection, which is caused due to overgrowing of naturally occurring bacteria in your body. It occurs mainly in men and children.
The juice contains substances that leave the bacteria ineffective to cling to the walls of your mouth, intestines or any part of the urinary tract. Fresh cranberry juice flushes the yeast out and other such excess fungi from your body.
12. Anti-Aging Properties
Having high concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins C, B3, and B5, makes cranberry not only good drink for daily diet but also enhances the turnover of your cells, and also protects them against the damages caused by environmental factors.
The free radicals borne in the atmosphere are responsible for the wrinkles formation, redness, and fine lines on the skin.
Antioxidants contained in cranberry juice combat these free radicals by supplying them the missing electrons, decreasing the damage caused, thus slowing down your aging process.
The acidic nature of Cranberry also helps if you have oily skin. The enzymes present in it exfoliate dead skin and unclogs the sebaceous glands which restrict the formation of sebum.
Mixing cranberry juice with honey and rubbing it on the face, leaving it on for about 20 minutes and then washing it off with lukewarm water helps. This instant mix can work as a very good toner for your skin.
The antiseptic properties of the juice are much effective for treatment of acne and boil on your skin. Its richness in resveratrol antioxidant is very effective for reducing acne and pimples. A mask created with cranberry as 1 of the primary ingredients helps in brightening your skin and gives you an instantly fresh look.
15. Hair Growth
Cranberry juice is considered as one of the amazing fruits if you are looking for long and lustrous hair. Vitamins A and C present in cranberry are the two main contents that promote the growth of healthy hair. Regular consumption of cranberry juice will help you in preventing hair loss and promote your growth of hair.
16. Prevents Psoriasis And Alopecia
The anti-fungal and antiseptic qualities of the juice prevent dandruff, psoriasis and such scalp-related problems. The juice, if applied topically on your scalp, helps you to get rid of these mentioned conditions.
The vitamin C in it is an essential nutrient for treating damaged hair and prevents numerous hair disorders. Cranberry juice can help in combating alopecia and baldness in males.
Despite the above-mentioned benefits, you need to be careful especially when you may be taking a blood-thinning drug. Some studies have been reported to cause an increase in the bleeding due to the interaction between the drug and the cranberries.
Further, the cranberry products increase the urine oxalate excretion, which may lead to the formation of kidney stones. If this may be running in your genes, then you may take it easy on cranberries.
Above all this, also do keep in mind that natural cranberry juice is much better than bottled cranberry juice that can be found in shops. This ensures you that the cranberry is not stripped off its significant components, particularly proanthocyanidins.
At the same time, you should also know that what you are consuming is not just sugar and cranberry-flavored drink, which is more often the case for many brands of cranberry juice sold in the markets.
This homemade cranberry juice is sweet, tart and overall, totally refreshing. It is unlike most other juices that you’ll find at the store. Because cranberries taste sour, many companies add a quite lot of sugar for sweetening the juice.
But when you make your juice, you have the opportunity of controlling the sweetness. You may also use freshly squeezed oranges which give the juice a nice citrus flavor.
1 cup of cranberry juice (~253 mL) contains the following nutritional information as stated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Sweetened =116
- Unsweetened = 70
- Sweetened = 0.33 grams
- Unsweetened = 0 grams
- Sweetened = 30.87 grams
- Unsweetened =18 grams
- 3 grams
- 99 grams
Do not confuse cranberry juice with cranberry juice cocktail; it isn’t as sugary as other fruit juices, but it’s highly acidic, which can sometimes contribute to bladder problems besides UTIs.
How To Make Cranberry Juice?
- Cranberries- 450 grams
- Water- 1 liter
- Apple chunks-for taste, but no more than cranberry
- Sugar-optional, to taste
- Cinnamon-optional, to taste
For making 1 liter of juice, you will need about 450 grams of cranberries.
Cranberries are quite expensive, so you may consider adding other fruit along with it if you want to make more quantity of juice. Try fruits such as strawberries, bananas, watermelon and/or grapes
But keep the cranberries in the center, i.e. in maximum possible amount. You might also add apple chunks to make a “cran-apple” juice.
Rinse the cranberries. It’s an important thing to do before you boil them because you never know what bacteria may be infesting the fruit.
Boil 1 liter of water in a pot. Be sure that the pot or container you use for boiling is large enough to hold not only the boiling water but even the amount of fruit that you are planning to add to it.
If you want to be fast, just put the cranberries into the boiling container along with water and instead of a long method and boil them together.
Now put all the cranberries, about 450 grams for 1 liter of juice into the pot with boiling water. At this time, you may also add any other fruits that you wanted to include. Be careful not to spill.
Let it simmer until the cranberries start popping. Lower the heat and keep it cooking for around 10 minutes until the cranberries start to pop. Steep the berries. Turn off the heat, and let the solution rest for another 10-20 minutes.
Add, if you want any sweeteners and spices. If you want the juice to be a little extra sweet, add sugar or some other sweetener like honey to taste. Start with adding 2-3 tablespoons, if you are not sure about how sweet it will become.
Next, add cinnamon, nutmeg, or any other spices that you may want to try. But, it would be better if you consider leaving the cranberry juice sugar-free, at least, the first batch so that you can better judge how much sugar you may or may not need.
Use a blender. If you want a thicker, smoothie-like cranberry juice, you may blend the berries with the water. Keep blending the mixture until it becomes thick, viscous liquid. Strain it through cheesecloth to remove any kind of skins or other particulates.
If you wanted a thinner juice, you may strain the juice directly out of the whole berries. Secure the cheesecloth over a pot or a large jar, and then carefully pour the prepared solution over the cloth making only the juice passing through. You may eat the cranberries or make them into a puree later on!
Looking at apparent benefits and seeing that cranberry is just another fruit, it’s sure that you may think it is good for health. And indeed, it is. It is just another fruit, the juice of which can be enjoyed by anyone.
But you just need to be sure that you are flagged negative for allergies to cranberry and that you are not helping any disease unknowingly. As soon as you are done investigating that, you are good to go. Have a glass of cranberry juice and say cheers to a healthy life.