The cranberry deserves a place of choice in a diet intended to maintain good health, good immune defenses and to prevent and reduce urinary tract infections.
Edible cranberries being mainly present in North America, it was not until the discovery of the American continent by European explorers to see its appearance in Western food habits, in particular as an accompaniment to the holiday turkey, a tradition of American origin which dates back to the early 1600s.
Cranberry helps fight urinary tract infections
However, this fruit has been known for much longer, the Amerindians particularly appreciating these “cranberries” which they used as much for food as for treating certain illnesses, in particular urinary tract infections. The discoveries of modern science have largely confirmed the correctness of these traditions, since cranberries contain molecules that prevent bacteria from adhering to the wall of the urinary canal and thus prevent infection. The health benefits of cranberries are not limited to urinary tract infections, however. Indeed, recent data suggests that these small fruits could also play an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer.
These beneficial effects are linked to their exceptional content in a class of molecules called proanthocyanidins, compounds endowed with a
extraordinary antioxidant activity that protects the vessel walls against oxidation and thus reduces the risk of disease. Daily consumption of cranberry juice can increase the level of good cholesterol by 8%, which helps improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of heart problems.
To best benefit from the effects of cranberry: eat the fruit rather than in the form of juice
Currently, cranberries are mostly consumed in the form of relatively sweet juices. However, this mode of absorption does not make it possible to take full advantage of the beneficial properties associated with cranberries. Indeed, proanthocyanidins are mainly present in the skin of cranberries and are only partially extracted from the fruit during the production of the juice.
For example, while whole cranberries contain nearly 500 mg of proanthocyanidins per 100 g, the juice contains only 15 mg, or 30 times less. It is therefore preferable to consume cranberries in a form as close as possible to the original fruit, for example in dried form.