Cranberries prevent urinary tract infections.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Drinking cranberry juice, eating cranberries, or taking cranberry supplements prevents urinary tract infections.
WHAT WE KNOW
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are a serious health problem that primarily affect women. One in five women will develop a UTI during her lifetime and many women suffer from frequent UTIs. Almost 20% of women who have one urinary tract infection will have another, and 30% of those will have a third. Urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics. Cranberries can not be used to treat an existing infection, but, UTIs can be avoided by drinking plenty of water every day, urinating when you feel the need, and by consuming cranberries daily.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
Urinary tract infections are caused by a bacterial infection in the urinary tract; most often that bacterium is E. coli which is normally found in the colon. If E. coli makes its way up the urinary tract to the bladder, it sticks to the lining of the bladder walls and begins multiplying, causing an infection on the surface of the urinary tract. Studies have shown that cranberry actually prevents bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract; phytochemicals in the cranberry bind to the bacteria and instead of sticking, they are just excreted.
Drinking cranberry juice, eating cranberries, or taking cranberry capsules may help prevent urinary tract infections. In order to reap the benefits and avoid urinary tract infections, it is recommended that women drink 10 ounces of cranberry juice, take 300 mg of cranberry capsules, or eat 1 ½ ounces fresh or frozen cranberry daily. Because most cranberry juice cocktails are loaded with added sugar, drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is a better option; the effects of regular and unsweetened juice on preventing UTIs are identical.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For women who experience frequent urinary tract infections, consuming cranberries is a delicious prevention method.