We all know that we need to eat plenty of servings of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, but who has the time and ability to consistently do this? One way to increase your intake of fruits is to drink juice, and one of the best juices to drink to improve your health is cranberry juice.
The Cranberry is a “Superfruit”
Cranberries are well known to be one of the ‘superfruits’ that provide amazing health benefits to those who consume them regularly. In fact, nearly any ‘berry’ will offer benefits to those who consume them beyond the caloric and nutritive aspects.
What makes cranberry juice so healthy is the mixture of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthy chemicals that it contains. The vitamins and minerals ensure the proper functioning of the body. Antioxidants provide numerous health benefits throughout the body. They combat ‘free radicals’ that are the main cause of inflammation and cancers. Antioxidants thus have a strong anti-inflammatory, anti-bacteria, and anti-cancer effect.
Aside from these compounds, cranberry juice also contains “phytochemicals,” compounds that help the body in a myriad of ways. For example, some of the phytochemicals in this drink attack breast cancer cells and reduce the progress of aging throughout the body.
The basic chemistry of cranberry juice also contributes to its health power. Cranberry juice is very acidic – this creates an inhospitable environment for nasty bugs and germs to grow, helping to keep your body clear of infection and illnes. In addition, cranberry juice contains plenty of water, keeping your body hydrated and operating at its peak.
So What’s the Payoff?
All of this adds up to numerous health benefits of cranberry juice for the regular drinker. The antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals can help protect your heart against heart disease and can guard your body against cancer. For men and for women, this drink can help clear infections in the urinary tract, bladder, and kidney, as well as in other places throughout the body.
The vitamins and minerals in the beverage also help. The vitamin C in the beverage helps keep your immune system strong, and the acidic and antioxidant components help break down and prevent the formation of kidney stones. Some manufacturers add calcium to the beverage, a mineral that is crucial for keeping your bones and teeth strong.
Older individuals, and those who are under a lot of stress, can also get relief from peptic and stomach ulcers by drinking this juice.
Cranberry juice can also give you benefits for your teeth! Drinking this beverage regularly can help reduce the formation of plaque and gum disease in your mouth. The acidity of the beverage, along with its other components, also helps kill and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
One of the reasons people don’t drink cranberry and other juices regularly is the taste. Pure juice can be tart and bitter, so many will mix it with other juices to moderate the flavor a bit. In fact, some brands of cranberry juice are already cut with other juices – as long as the juice contains 30% cranberries compared to 70% other fruits, you’ll still enjoy all the health benefits of the drink.
Others get these juices with added sugars – this is not a good idea. Note that, like all juices, a sweetened and an unsweetened version of this beverage exists. The unsweeted version is 100% pure cranberry juice, while the sweetened version of the beverage contains added sugars. While this may make the beverage taste better, it actually hurts its nutrional profile in two ways. First, you take in empty and unnecessary calories by drinking that added sugar, increasing your weight and expanding your fat stores, leading to further health problems down the line. Second, you get less of the 100% juice that you need, as it has been ‘diluted’ to an extent, and thus don’t get the concentrated benefits of cranberry juice. Of course, if the choice is between sweetened cranberry juice and soda, go with the juice, as it still contains some of the healthy compounds and antioxidants that will keep your body strong.
Getting Cranberry Juice
Drink one to three 8 oz. glasses of this beverage a day to enjoy the maximum benefits. You can purchase regular brands of cranberry juice, like Ocean Spray, or you can buy organic varieties. Indeed, many people try to go on a cranberry juice diet to help them lose weight. While this may be effective, those trying this diet should be careful, as the beverage does contain sugar. As with any beverage, drink it in moderation – drinking two gallons a day will just make you sick and fat!