Cranberry - the majestic berry
We eat them fresh and dried, in the form of sauces, jam, marmelade, syrup and drink like juice, tea or tincture. They originally originate from North America and were first used by the Indians, the first resident of the American continent, for the treatment of kidney and urinary tract diseases, wound healing, and the healing and alleviation of digestive disorders. Studies have shown that daily consumption of 300 ml cranberry juice can reduce the possibility of developing urinary tract infections by 80%. While most commonly consumed in the form of commercially produced juice, it does not have a positive effect on our immune system because it is caused by the addition of large amounts of sugar. In addition to drinking juices without the addition of sugars in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract inflammation, this berry fruit is recommended to be consumed in the form of capsules, tablets or tinctures.
For years it has been believed that the ability of this bushy plant of red-tailed fruit to prevent urinary tract infections is partially associated with its acidity. Research has shown that its power is hidden in the unusual nature of proanthocyanid (PAC) whose special structure acts as a barrier to bacteria to bind to the urinary system walls. This phytochemical compound affects glycoproteins around the virus or cell membrane and prevents the virus from fixing to the target cell and thus prevents the replication of E. coli, causing 80 percent of urinary infections. In their juice there is a substance that prevents the E. coli bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall and the urinary canals, causing bacterial growth and growth not to occur, and the infection is delayed.
The benefits of this fruit, as shown in many studies, are limited to women with recurrent urinary tract infections ie those uncomplicated without predisposing factors. This research area opened the door towands the understanding other possible benefits of this low-calorie fruit, which as a powerful antioxidant contributes to the prevention of various cancers. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a growing number of mechanisms that help explain their anticancer activities in breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer. They also act on Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers. In fact, as much as 80 percent of cases of stomach ulcer are the result of H. pylori's action on the mucous membrane of the stomach, which is damaged and becomes susceptible to acid and bacterial activity and thus produces a whey. Cranberry proantocianidines prevent H. pylori from sticking to the stomach wall and, in addition, they facilitate digestion and preserve the digestive tract of bacteria and fungi.
While nutrients such as vitamin C, A, and fibers play a very important role in its health benefits, there is also an incredible array of phytonutrients that pay special attention to researchers such as phenolic acid, anthocyanins, flavonoids and triterpenoids. They have been studied for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, and in many cases the results are impressive and show that cranberry has a remarkable impact on human health and is at the very top of the pyramid of healthy food due to its high content of nutrients and antioxidants, and is often referred to as "super food ".
Strenghtens the immune system
They are among the top five foods with the highest percentage of antioxidants that protect the body's cells from oxidative stress and the influence of free radicals caused by the exposure to air full of smog, harmful UV rays, unhealthy food and stress. They are rich in fibers, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B, Vitamin C and A, minerals, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese and copper, and it is recommended to be used to resist flu and colds.
Their positive effect was noted for kidney and liver problems, as well as their effects on strengthening the immune system. Their consumption is also recommended for men with prostate enlargement. Czech scientists have found that daily taking of 1 500 mg of dried cranberry powder in the form of a dietary supplement over a period of 6 months significantly improves the markers for assessing prostate health. It has been shown to reduce symptoms in the lower urinary tract (LUTS) in men, thereby improving the quality of life and lowering the level of specific PSA antigen - a marker used to detect prostate cancer.
Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties
They contain hypouric acid which has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities as a preventative agent and in the treatment of various infections. They have anti-inflammatory effects due to their phytonutrients that are effective in reducing the risk of unwanted inflammation, including proantocianides, anthocyanidins (flavonoid pigments giving them red color), flavonols such as quercetin and phenolic acid such as hydroxycinnamic acid. Their anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the risk of periodontal diseases of the gums. Regular consumption, research has shown that it can prevent the inflammation of the gums. Their active ingredients can reduce the number of bacteria in the oral cavity thus directly preventing the formation of dental plaque, the main cause of inflammation. Studies have shown that mouthwashes containing them significantly reduces the appearance of caries.
They also promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal system (Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus acidophilus) and kill harmful bacteria that cause infection and food poisoning, such as E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes. In addition to E. coli, they can reduce the adherence of other pathogens often found in the urinary tract (Proteus mirabilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa).
Cranberries also positively affect the health of the cardiovascular system. They are effective in lowering the level of total cholesterol and preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is believed to cause atherosclerosis and heart disease. Likewise, their consumption works to increase HDL cholesterol levels, reduce blood clotting, and reduce blood pressure, which is attributed to high bioflavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants.
Most studies in this area include laboratory animal studies that have shown the cessation of cancer cell growth and their metastasis. They can play an important role in preventing the appearance of various forms of cancer, such as breast, colon, lung, prostate cancer, due to its antioxidative properties.
One serving provides at least 10 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C which protects the DNA cells and prevents the formation of carcinogenic substances. They also reduce the inflammation, and thus the ability of the cancer to attack other tissues.
Help with weight loss
Cranberries are low in calories, 100 grams of fresh cranberries contains 15 calories, while the energy value of 100 grams dried cranberries is 60 calories. It is considered a dietetic food that is recommended to be consumed if you want to lose weight. In addition, they stimulate the digestion and the metabolism.
Protects against diabetes and improve vision
They are also beneficial to diabetics because they lower the blood glucose and contain anthocyanins and proantocians that improve vision. In addition, they slow down aging and problems that it brings like memory loss.