Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cranberry Juice: Fab or Fad?

I have never been a fan of cranberries or cranberry juice.  I thought it had a harsh, strong taste that I didn't like.  I am the one who always passes on the cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.  When I accidentally picked up a cranberry muffin, I picked all the cranberries out...yuck.  Well, I am proof of how your taste can change over time, although my change stems somewhat from a desire for healthier living, as well as a change in taste buds.

As such, I have been researching the health benefits of cranberry juice, beyond bladder infections, and have found that cranberry juice benefits a whole host of other issues.  It is high in antioxidants and vitamin C, which is why it is so good at fighting off infections including respiratory and middle ear infections.  For instance, some studies show that it changes the E. Coli bacteria in ways that prevent it from causing infection. 

Cranberries are also heart-wise.  The antioxidants may protect the heart by lowering bad cholesterol, relaxing blood vessels, and reducing plaque buildup in the arteries.  Seems like a good reason to drink it to me.

Cranberries contain a compound shown to kill or inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the laboratory.  It is not known if this can be repeated outside the lab. Drinking cranberry juice, however, will not cure cancer.

We have touched on some of the ways cranberries are good for us.  Later we will explore the cranberry from a culinary view.


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