Cranberries are berries that fall within the genus Vaccinium, and they’re related to blueberries and Rhododendron blooms. The sour flavor of cranberries and its fruit juice is comparable to that of lemons and limes. It’s possible that the bitterness comes from the high amount of natural fruit acids present in cranberries.
Is Cranberry a Citrus Fruit?
Cranberries do contain citric acid and acidic taste or sour taste, albeit in significantly lesser quantities than actual citrus fruits or citrus juice such as lemons and grapefruit. According to Sigma-Aldrich, a 6-ounce serving of a commercially produced cranberry juice cocktail contains 0.28 grams of citric acid. Cranberries also include ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C in another form. A cup of whole cranberries has 13.3 milligrams of ascorbic acid.
The acidic content of cranberry juice is aided by the citric acid component. Urine became more acidic after drinking cranberry juice, according to a study published in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in October 2002. Cranberries also include proanthocyanidins, which may help prevent infection-causing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract’s walls.
Health Benefits of Cranberry Juice
Because cranberry juice is somewhat acidic, it may exacerbate issues such as acid reflux. Cranberry juice has been known to leave an odd taste in people’s mouths or to cause irritated gums and lips.
Although the studies on the advantages of cranberry juice are mostly preliminary, the antioxidant and antibacterial properties appear to be promising. Most individuals can consume cranberry juice without risk, and they do so by consuming a serve of fruit.
Six benefits of drinking cranberry juice
Cranberry juice might provide the following potential advantages:
1. Fighting age-related damage
Cranberry juice may help reduce the effects of aging. Chemicals called free radicals accumulate in humans as they grow older. Free radicals are oxidative toxins that cause damage to cells. There’s a relationship between oxidative damage and a variety of diseases.
Cranberry juice contains antioxidants or compounds that combat harmful free radicals. Cranberries and cranberry juice contain antioxidants, which indicates that they may help protect the body’s tissues from aging-related damage.
Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which have been shown in a 2011 study to increase antioxidant activity at lower pH levels. The berries were found to be considerably more effective antioxidants than cranberry juice, although cranberry juice provided some advantages.
2. Improving heart health
Cranberry juice has been shown in studies to benefit heart health. Cranberries are high in compounds called polyphenols, which have been found to be beneficial to the heart. Cranberry juice promotes the formation of antioxidants in the blood plasma, according to a 2011 study of women with metabolic syndrome. People who consumed cranberry juice had lower levels of harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol because it can cause damage to arteries throughout the body.
Cranberry juice may help people with coronary artery disease maintain their health. Among those who consumed a laboratory preparation of double-strength cranberry juice, the average carotid-femoral artery pulse wave velocity, which assesses the stiffness of arteries, was decreased.
3. Treating or preventing urinary tract infection (UTI)
In mice, the antibacterial properties of cranberry juice were found to decrease the occurrence of UTIs. The ability of antibacterial qualities to hinder E. coli colonization in the bladder is credited with lowering UTI incidence. E. coli bacteria is the primary cause of all URIs.
According to a 2016 research published in Alternative Therapies in Health and MedicineTrusted Source, uncircumcised boys who drank cranberry juice and had previously experienced repeated UTIs had fewer bacterial infections when compared to those who drank a placebo and those who were circumcised but did not drink the placebo. The researchers added that cranberry juice might help to prevent the spread of bacteria.
4. Supporting digestive health
There’s a lot of evidence that cranberry juice contains phytochemicals that are beneficial to digestive health. In 2018, the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture published results from a study demonstrating the benefits of cranberry juice in addition to other advantages.
According to a study published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design, ingesting cranberry juice or its extracts might assist with digestive health by limiting the growth of another microbe called H. pylori in the stomach. The researchers also suggested that further study be done on cranberry juice.
5. Preventing infections
Cranberries have been shown to lower the number of germs in the body. Cranberries contain chemicals that can help fight viruses and bacteria. Some components found in cranberries may aid in the prevention of viral and bacterial infections. In 2011, researchers discovered that cranberries suppressed seven bacteria species. The study did not evaluate whether cranberry juice or cranberries could prevent disease spread by these microorganisms in people.
Cranberries, in particular, have been found to be antiviral. According to a 2010 research, they can also combat norovirus, a common source of food-borne illness. The researchers writing the paper note that more study is needed; nevertheless, they believe that cranberries may help with or prevent food-related sickness.
6. Supporting post-menopausal health
After menopause, the risk of heart disease is higher than that in other populations of people of the same age.
This effect has been researched in animals with their ovaries removed. Researchers discovered that daily cranberry ingestion decreased total cholesterol, suggesting that cranberry products could be beneficial dietary supplements after menopause.
Side effects of cranberry juice
According to some studies, cranberry juice may interact with a number of drugs. One worry is that cranberries might enhance the effectiveness of a blood thinner called warfarin. There’s less evidence on the impact of other medications. However, preliminary research suggests that cranberries and:
Cranberry juice should not be taken by people taking these drugs or any other medicines. It’s a good idea for people who take prescription medications to talk with their doctors about cranberry juice. Rather than stopping all cranberry juice, it may be necessary to adjust the dosages and side effects of medications.