The majority of people in North America associate cranberries with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, however, more and more individuals are consuming these berries throughout the year.
Since several studies have demonstrated their effectiveness in preventing bladder and urinary tract infections, cranberries have often been used for their medicinal benefits, rather than nutrition. The reason why cranberries may be effective for preventing UTIs is that they contain components that seem to reduce the ability of the common bacteria E.coli to adhere to the lining of the bladder and urethra.
You see, in order for bacteria to infect, they must first adhere to the lining. By interfering with adherence, cranberry juice greatly reduces the likelihood of infection and helps the body fight off infection.
It has also been demonstrated recently that cranberry juice is far better than its extract in fighting a bio-film, formed by a resistant layer of bugs that spur infection (which is actually not surprising).
The study explored mechanisms that the virulent form of E. coli bug, the primary cause of most urinary tract infections in people, uses to form bio-films.
Cranberries are quite bitter and most of the cranberry juices and preserves contain added sugar. Drinking fresh cranberry juice naturally sweetened with apple or grape juice is recommended.
Blueberry juice is a suitable alternative to cranberry juice in bladder infections.
Home Remedies for UTI: Cranberry and Blueberry Juice
Since the best “home remedy” for a UTI is prevention, here is a recipe for a sugar-free cranberry juice that is naturally sweetened with apples.
Choose cranberries that are ripe, red, plump, shiny, and firm. Poor quality is indicated by dull appearance and softness. Fresh cranberries can be kept in the fridge for months with only minimal loss of nutritional value. In season during the fall, cranberries freeze very well and can be added frozen to smoothies or juiced without thawing. Wash just before using.
Flavor is tart, so blend with sweeter juices such as apples, pineapple, apricots, and grapes. In these recipes, the bitter taste of the cranberries are masked by the flavor and natural sweetness of other fruits.
Cranberry Juice Recipes
1 cup cranberries
1 orange, peeled
1 cup cranberries
1 cup cranberries
1/2 lemon, peeled
1 cup of grapes
Are Cranberries Recommended for Treatment of UTI?
If you already have a urinary tract infection, you probably want fast results, and in this case antibiotics seem to beat cranberries.
For the comparison – published in Archives of Medicine – researchers at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam recruited 221 premenopausal women with recurrent urinary tract (bladder) infections. Half of the women took capsules containing a cranberry extract every day for 12 months, while the other half took the antibiotic trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) every day for the same period of time.
What happened? Urinary tract infections were almost two times more common in women given the cranberry extract capsules than in those given the antibiotic. On average, women in the cranberry group developed a new infection after four months, as compared to eight months for the antibiotic group.
But women in the antibiotic group were three times more likely to develop antibiotic resistance. That’s a phenomenon in which infectious bacteria become resistant to the effects of antibiotics – meaning they are harder to control.
“Cranberries are less effective in the prevention, but do not result in resistant microorganisms,” study author Dr. Suzanne Geerlings, an infectious diseases expert at the center, told HealthDay. By David W Freeman
Please note that according to new research demonstrated cranberry juice is far better than its extract in fighting a bio-film, formed by a resistant layer of bugs that spur infection.
How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections with Cranberry Juice
While no single study convincingly demonstrates the ability of cranberry to prevent UTIs, the sum total of favorable evidence combined with laboratory research tends to support this use.
Although critics say that the studies are not conclusive and there are no clear dosing guidelines, but given the safety of cranberry, it may be reasonable to recommend the use of moderate amounts of cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, especially recurring urinary tract infections, and avoid the excessive use of antibiotics.
Although dosage for preventing UTIs is not clear, juice at least 1/2 cup and drink every day for a minimum of 3 weeks.
Also, to prevent urinary tract infections, drink lots of clear liquids – up to 10 glasses per day, avoid caffeine, and empty your bladder regularly.
Other Benefits of Cranberry Juice
Raw cranberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, phytochemicals under active research for possible benefits to the cardiovascular system and immune system, and as anti-cancer agents, such as in isolated prostate cancer cells. Cranberry juice contains a high molecular weight non-dializable material that might inhibit formation of plaque by Streptococcus mutans pathogens that cause tooth decay. (source: Wikipedia).
High in vitamins A and C, iodine and calcium, cranberries also help prevent kidney stones.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also done studies that show the antioxidant and phytonutrient content of cranberries help with brain function and cognition.
Preliminary research has also found that cranberry juice can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raise levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood; cranberries can slow tumor growth or preven them altogether; and certain chemical extracts from cranberries prevented the multiplication of breast cancer cells in a test tube, although the effect on a woman is still unknown.
Additionally, other research has found that cranberry juice exhibits anti-viral properties against the flu, can prevent cavities, and lessens the reoccurrence of gastric ulcers. Unhappily for half the human race, however, new research published this year in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research on ulcers, suggests that, like urinary tract infections, the healing power of cranberries apply only to women. (source)
Submit a Juice Recipe
So, now that you know how to make cranberry juice as a home remedy for UTI, you can experiment with other variations on this theme.
If you have a favorite recipe, why not submit it here in the comment section for others to enjoy too!
And read more about the benefits of juicing on my juicing blog.