DNC News

Cranberries

There are very few indiginous foods in our modern diets. Few foods which are both native to North America and naturally suited to our climate. Most foods we eat evolved in other parts of the world in much warmer climates. Over the centuries we have adapted them to survive in colder climates and cleared native plants to plant and grow them. If asked to name native North American foods that we still eat, one of the few that come to mind are cranberries. Like most good things we don't eat enough of them though. Sure, cranberry flavored sugar water is popular but cranberries themselves are still reserved for special occasions. Cranberries are good for you and this would be a good year to start eating more of them.

Fresh Cranberries are back in the stores. All berries freeze well but cranberries freeze the best. There are no end of things you can do with cranberries but my favorite is plain old fashioned cranberry sauce. I just follow the recipe on the back of the package, more or less. By more, I like to add a few extra things in. Maybe a little orange juice or orange slices. As far as sugar, add a little less thatn the recipe calls for.
1/4-1/2 cup white sugar per bag of cranberries is usually plenty. Try substituting frozen juice concentrates or honey for the sugar if you like. Buy up a year's supply as the supermarkets put them on sale as loss leaders the week before Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Health Research Summary

Since 1984, many studies have confirmed that cranberries have numerous health benefits, the foremost being its "anti-adhesion" effect on certain bacteria. Cranberry juice cocktail contains proanthocyanidins, more commonly known as condensed tannins, which actually "disable" certain harmful bacteria that cause infection in the body, so the "bugs don't stick."
The first scientific findings on cranberry were related to urinary tract health. Most recently, emerging science suggests that cranberries may also be powerful protectors of our health in other areas of the body. Cranberries may inhibit certain bacteria in the stomach and oral cavity through the same anti-adhesion mechanism that promotes urinary tract health. While this research is still in the early stages, it is exciting to consider the cranberry's importance as a promising therapeutic tool to help fight bacteria naturally.

URINARY TRACT
May 1984 - Journal of Urology
While trying to account for cranberry juice's unique urinary tract health benefits, Youngstown State University researchers demonstrate that the benefits may be related to the cranberry's ability to inhibit bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract - thus reducing the risk of infection. The researchers found that 15 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail significantly inhibited the E. coli bacteria, which cause 80 to 90 percent of UTIs, from adhering to the urinary tract.

May 30, 1991 - The New England Journal of Medicine
Tel Aviv University researchers also describe the anti-E. coli adherence property of cranberry juice and attempt to identify the specific components in cranberries that cause this beneficial effect. They conclude that a compound in cranberries of an "unknown nature" prevents certain E. coli from adhering to the bladder's lining.

March 9, 1994 - Journal of the American Medical Association
Harvard Medical School researchers conduct the first well-controlled, large-scale clinical trial to demonstrate that drinking cranberry juice cocktail regularly significantly reduced bacteria from growing in the urinary tract. The researchers found that the effect was not because of more acidic urine (the urine of the cranberry juice drinkers was no more acidic than those drinking a non-cranberry placebo drink) and speculated that there was something specific in cranberry that prevented bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract. This research was conducted with 153 women, average age of 78, using 10 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail, which contains 27 percent cranberry juice.

1997 - Journal of Family Practice
In a double-blind clinical trial, researchers from Weber State University find that sexually active women between the ages of 18 and 45 who daily consume a cranberry dietary supplement (from spray-dried cranberry juice) for six months had a significantly lower risk of UTIs than women taking a placebo.

February 1998 - Journal of Urology
Building on the anti-adhesion theory, Tulane University School of Medicine researchers find that cranberry juice actually changes the shape of E.
coli. Examining the effects of cranberry juice on the growth and development of E. coli in the laboratory, the researchers found that the hair-like structures that E. coli use to attach to cells in the bladder were inhibited from growing in the presence of cranberry juice. This provided the first visual observation of a change in structure of the bacteria that would prevent them from attaching to cells in the urinary tract.

October 8, 1998 - The New England Journal of Medicine - Proanthocyanidins Identified
Rutgers-led scientists identify the active components in cranberries responsible for maintaining urinary tract health as proanthocyanidins or condensed tannins. The researchers concluded that the proanthocyanidins in a daily 10-ounce glass of cranberry juice cocktail are responsible for promoting urinary tract health.

January 2001 - Spinal Cord
Recurrent urinary tract infections frequently pose a serious problem for hospitalized spinal cord-injured patients. A study was conducted with patients comparing the effects of water and cranberry juice cocktail consumption. The results indicate that the cranberry juice cocktail significantly reduced bacteria from adhering to bladder cells and the water intake had no effect on bacterial adhesion.

ORAL CAVITY
December 1998 - The Journal of the American Dental Association Research from Tel Aviv University suggests that compounds in cranberries may certain bacteria found in the mouth from adhering to teeth and to other bacteria, apparently through the same type of anti-adhesion mechanism through which they maintain urinary tract health. These bacteria have been associated with periodontal gum disease. More research is needed to provide an optimal product to deliver this benefit.

CANCER
April 2000 - The University of Western Ontario
Research from the University of Western Ontario studies the effect of daily consumption of cranberry juice and other cranberry products on human breast cancer cell growth in animals. This preliminary research found that cranberry components inhibited the development of tumors in mice injected with human breast cancer cells. More research is needed to understand the benefits to human health.

September 15, 2000 - International Conference and Exhibit on Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods
Cranberry seeds are found to contain a higher level of tocotrienols, powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants, than in any other plant. University of Massachusetts-Amherst researcher Dr. Wasef Nawar's study reveals that cranberry seed oil contains significant amounts of these potent forms of Vitamin E without the palmitic acid found in other plants containing tocotrienols.

HEART
April 2000 - University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse
Early results from an in vitro study from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse suggest cranberry juice might promote cardiovascular health. In the study, cranberry juice proved to be an effective antioxidant, preventing artery-clogging LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized and thus causing more damage.

September 10-15, 2000 - International Conference on Polyphenols in Freising-Weinhenstephan, Germany
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison test a series of cranberry flavonoid fractions in vitro and find that some of them prevent LDL oxidation. The cranberry proanthocyanidin fraction was highly effective in protecting the LDL from oxidation.

September 17, 2000 - International Conference and Exhibit on Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst discover that cranberry seed oil contains high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and tocotrienols, two compounds rarely found in plants, that are believed to contribute to heart health. Omega 3 fatty acids, usually found in unpleasant tasting fish oil, reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and tocotrienols are believed to have implications in blood clotting.

October 2000 - Journal of Medicinal Foods
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse discover that compounds found in cranberry extracts dilate blood vessels in rats, thereby reducing their blood pressure. The researchers conclude that the flavonoids and acanthocyanins in cranberry juice may provide the heart benefits of red wine without the alcohol.

STOMACH
September 15 , 2000 - International Conference and Exhibit on Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods
Researchers at Tel Aviv University find preliminary evidence that cranberry may have a similar anti-adhesion effect on H. pylori, the bacteria that are a cause of stomach ulcers. The in vitro study, using human gastric mucus cells and a cranberry fraction, suggests that the cranberry's anti-adhesion effect may prevent the bacteria from attaching to the stomach lining and causing an ulcer. The findings also showed that cranberry could also possibly reverse the adhesion of these bacteria.


Ask the Doctor:
What's the difference between naturopathy and homeopathy?

[click here for the answer]

Submit your question here.


Newsletter:
Enter your email to recieve the latest Health and Wellness newsletters from the clinic.