Let’s be honest, cranberry juice is pretty much synonymous with vaginal health — more specifically cystitis or urinary tract infections (UTIs).
It’s often been used as a catch-all treatment suggestion to those suffering from UTIs but, does cranberry juice have any benefits to the skin, hair and vaginal health? And what about whether it supports heart health? Heart disease? And even high blood pressure?
Turns out, cranberries aren’t just great in jams, sauces and cereal bars, in juice and supplement form, it has some excellent health benefits.
We investigated to find out whether the humble cranberry is worth introducing into your diet.
Is cranberry juice good for your health?
OK, so let’s clear up one thing first. Cranberry juice is (sadly) not going to completely irradiate UTIs or skin concerns for good — trust us, we wish it was that simple, too. But, it’s also not a complete old wives’ tale that they’re good for your health, either.
Cranberries as a berry have many health benefits as they’re high in antioxidants thanks to their rich abundance of flavonoids . However, due to its tart taste, many people don’t eat the berries straight.
There are still plenty more studies to be carried out when it comes to the direct health benefits of cranberry, but the evidence so far suggests that cranberries can be beneficial for UTIs, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, chronic diseases, digestive health and coronary artery disease .
As far as skin and hair go, the evidence is unclear so it’s difficult to say for certain. However, since the berry is high in antioxidants (which are great for the skin), it wouldn’t be surprising if benefits were discovered.
There are clinical trials currently ongoing that explore the correlation between cranberries and skin benefits . Note: this particular trial is supported by Ocean Spray, the cranberry juice company, which could be a potential conflict of interest, so is something to bear in mind.
There is still plenty of research to be done on which form cranberries are most beneficial when consumed. But unsweetened (and this really is the key, you don’t want to be drinking excess sugar) cranberry juice consumption can indeed have health benefits.
What are the benefits of cranberry juice?
There are lots of health benefits of fresh cranberries and drinking cranberry juice, from helping stop the bacterial pathogens adhering to urinary tract infections, to supporting heart health, cardiovascular diseases, and overall health thanks to the many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
One serving (253g) of unsweetened cranberry juice contains approximately 116 calories, 2.3% vitamin A, 39% vitamin C, 1.6%Calcium, and 3.5% iron based on a 2000 calorie per day diet .
Cranberries are rich in chemicals called polyphenols, which include phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and flavonoids. Plus it’s also high in proanthocyanidins — which have antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits — more on that to come .
Whilst some of these compounds may be lost during the process of turning these small berries into juice, they do still hold plenty of their nutritional value.
Benefits for skin and hair
The benefits of drinking cranberry juice for the skin and hair are still very limited. There are no concrete studies to support the link between cranberry juice and improved skin and hair.
However, since the stuff is so high in antioxidants, it would make sense that it has some skin benefits, too.
Antioxidants help stop free radicals and the damage they cause to the skin, which, in turn, can help with breakouts, signs of ageing, dark spots and overall radiance.
Supports menopausal health
Evidence suggests that cranberry juice can help those experiencing menopausal symptoms in 2 ways.
The first is urinary tract health, which, during menopause, can increase due to a decrease in oestrogen levels. And secondly, it can contribute to lowering cholesterol, which again can disrupt these levels .
Improve heart and digestive health
A 2016 study suggested that cranberry juice can promote digestive health thanks to the effects of cranberry juice inhibiting the adhesion of pathogens; notably H.pylori and E.coli .
Because of this noted ability to help stop adhesions of these pathogens, cranberry juice is said to also potentially help stomach ulcers caused by the same, but there's still more to be done here before noting it as concrete evidence.
As for heart health, a study from 2019 looked into the impacts of low-calorie cranberry juice in overweight men and found that low-calorie, high-polyphenol cranberry juice helped reduce cardiovascular disease risk over an 8-week period by reducing inflammation and increasing HDL cholesterol .
Finally, what’s the link between vaginal health and drinking cranberry juice? And is it even legitimate? Let’s take a look.
A randomised, double-blind trial from 2016 showed that regular, low-sugar cranberry juice lowered the number of UTIs in women with a history of them by 39% .
While cranberry juice isn't treating or preventing urinary tract infections, per see, it's actually due to the antibacterial effect a cranberry has thanks to it being high in proanthocyanidins.
This actually inhibits the nasty bacteria in the urinary tract from adhering, which means the infection is likely to be less disruptive. .
It’s important to note that whilst cranberry juice and vaginal probiotic supplements may have reduced symptoms caused by the infections, they absolutely cannot treat infections and shouldn’t be used in place of antibiotics where needed and other medical treatments.
Like our Vaginal Probiotic, it contains Cranberry and a probiotic blend to support a healthy female urinary tract health and vaginal flora for balanced care down there.
Is it better to drink cranberry juice or consume dried cranberries?
In short: they’re both great — provided you’re drinking low-sugar juice. And we're talking actual cranberry juice here. Avoid anything that contains high fructose corn syrup or a cranberry juice cocktail.
Dried cranberries are pretty special in that their benefits aren’t completely eradicated during the drying process, which makes them of use in many supplements.
Is it safe to drink cranberry juice during pregnancy?
Yes, absolutely! Drinking cranberry juice while pregnant is safe. As mentioned previously, just make sure you’re drinking a no added sugar beverage to reduce blood sugar spikes.
And remember: we're talking only a small amount here. Please don't start drinking cranberry juice by the bottle daily.
Is it good to drink cranberry juice every day?
A glass of cranberry juice daily can be great for your health — plus it’s a tasty breakfast drink.
It’s important that you’re drinking unsweetened juice. Like everything, too much of it can be a bad thing. So don’t feel like you need to overdo it. One serving is plenty, but definitely no more than 2 per day.
Pure cranberry juice is also said to help reduce tooth decay due to fighting cavities.
Are there any potential risks of daily consumption of cranberry juice?
Too much cranberry juice isn’t good for your health. It can give you an upset stomach, lead to too much sugar intake, and increase the number of calories you’re consuming through drinks per day.
Cranberries can interact with some medication, so it’s best to speak with your doctor if you’re looking to introduce a supplement to your diet.
How much cranberry juice should I drink a day?
The exact amount of recommended cranberry juice per day isn’t clearly defined, unfortunately.
When it comes to a urinary tract infection, a clinical study suggested that between 40–300ml of 25% pure juice can reduce bacteriuria by 50%. But more research is needed as to dosage when it comes to other health benefits .
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