Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cranberries, Viruses & Bacteria

Cranberries can be magic.

Ask any woman who has ever had a slight, but pesky, bladder infection.

Research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Phytomedicine, suggest cranberries to have potent antiviral properties. After the virus known as bacteriophage T2 and T4 was exposed to cranberry juice, the viral count in the cells was no longer detectable. By contrast, orange and grapefruit juices had a much lower effect, inhibiting the virus by only 25 to 35 percent. The researchers noted that cranberry juice could prevent the virus from adhering to cells.

A note of caution to those folks who are on prescription blood thinners: cranberries do contain anti-clotting properties, so you might want to check with your physician before loading up on the bittersweet berries over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

We suggest that you spring for pure cranberry juice instead of the high glycemic cranberry juice cocktail product available in half gallon bottles. That stuff is almost pure sugar!


Spencer Thornton, M.D. said...

Right on.

At Thanksgiving dinner I had turkey smothered in cranberry sauce. The result: I slept like a baby and didn’t worry about my urinary system.

Turkey meat contains L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid with a documented sleep inducing effect, but it's actually the carbohydrate-rich meal that increases the level of this amino acid in the brain leading to serotonin synthesis. Carbohydrates stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin, and some amino acids that compete with tryptophan leave the bloodstream and enter muscle cells. This causes an increase in the relative concentration of tryptophan in the bloodstream. Serotonin is synthesized and you feel that familiar sleepy feeling.

Then there are the cranberries.

Consuming cranberries whole or as juices helps prevent urinary tract infections and relieve their symptoms. A popular folk remedy for generations, the effectiveness of cranberries in preventing urinary tract infections has been documented in a number of studies. Natural unprocessed cranberry juice contains anthocyanidins, which prevent Escherichia coli, the bacteria that usually cause urinary tract infections, from attaching to the urinary tract wall.

Some people use cranberry juice to reduce fever and treat certain cancers. Though proof may be lacking for some of these claims, there are no known adverse side effects from cranberries except in the form of a cocktail with loads of added corn syrup and sugars.

I hope all had a blessed Thanksgiving.

Jessica said...

I drank cranberry juice everyday when I was pregnant to prevent a bladder infection. It worked!

Jen said...

I love to put dried cranberrys in my salads! Might sound weird, but they're alot better for me then crutons and bacon bits!

alex c said...

An ongoing University of Wisconsin study is researching the cranberry's ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Scientists have found that cranberry extract contains polyphenol compounds called flavonoids, which may help maintain heart health. In fact, the Wisconsin study has already shown that the properties of cranberry juice that could contribute to inhibiting blood clotting, promoting blood vessel diameter and preventing clogged arteries are equivalent to those of red wine.