Prevention & Recovery

The health benefits of cranberries

Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

The health benefits of cranberries

If you suffer from the pain and discomfort of urinary tract infections, you're not alone. A urinary tract infection is usually caused by bacteria or germs which get into the urinary tract and multiply, causing redness, swelling and pain. But there's an easy way to promote good urinary tract health, and it starts by taking the cranberry glass-a-day challenge.

According to a new Ipsos Reid survey, over 50 per cent of Canadian women have suffered from a urinary tract infection or UTI. The National Kidney Foundation of Canada reports that these UTI's account for 500,000 doctor visits annually. 

But improving urinary tract health can be as simple as increasing your intake of cranberries.

"Cranberries contain powerful antioxidants called proanthocyanidins or condensed tannins, and they prevent certain bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract," says registered dietitian Lois Ferguson. "And when bacteria can't stick, bacteria cannot cause infection."

"A recent study at Rutgers University suggests that women can help maintain a healthy urinary tract by drinking one glass of cranberry cocktail twice a day. The anti-adhesion benefits of drinking a glass of cranberry cocktail starts within two hours and can last for up to 10 hours."

In order to provide the nutrient and refreshment needs of the entire family, cranberry is now available in a variety of different options.

"Cranberries are packed with vitamin C to help protect your immune system," Ferguson says. "In fact, one cup of 100% juice blends provides the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C with no added sugar, no preservatives and it's an easy way to get two servings of fruit."

"Look for the Health Check symbol on the label. It's the Heart and Stroke Foundation's program based on Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating. It helps to identify wise food choices."

There are a variety of ways to get cranberry health benefits from different products, according to Ferguson.

"Toss some tangy, sweetened dried cranberries into yogurt, cereal, muffins and salads. Just 1/3 cup has the same health benefits as one cup of cranberry cocktail. Add extra flavour to grilled salmon, chicken and pork with cranberry sauce. It's easy, it's fun and it tastes great!"

Try these recipes using cranberries:

Fresh Cranberry Relish

Morning Glory Muffins

Herbed Turkey with Cranberry Apricot Stuffing

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Prevention & Recovery

The health benefits of cranberries

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