Cranberries are good for more than Thanksgiving sauce. These red berries are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that offer a wide range of health benefits. Let’s explore what cranberry juice can do for women’s health in particular.
Prevention Of Urinary Tract Infections
Cranberries contain high levels of compounds called proanthocyanidins (PACs). These PACs can inhibit the growth of bacteria, making cranberry juice a good natural remedy for urinary tract infections (UTIs). In fact some research has shown that drinking cranberry juice can help reduce the recurrence of UTIs (4).
However, there’s no evidence that cranberry juice can treat UTIs. If you have a UTI, see your doctor.
Improves Postmenopausal Health
Menopause is associated with unpleasant symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and an increased risk of UTIs. Cranberry juice may help alleviate some of these symptoms.
Animal studies suggest that cranberry juice may help improve vaginal health after menopause by reducing inflammation and boosting collagen production.
More human research is needed to confirm these effects.
Alleviates Premenstrual Symptoms
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a group of symptoms that occur in the days leading up to a woman’s period. PMS symptoms can include cramps, brittle nails, anxiety, and depression.
Cranberry juice may help alleviate some of these symptoms. This is likely due to the high levels of antioxidants in cranberries, which can help reduce inflammation.
This beverage also contains decent levels of magnesium, which can help alleviate cramps, lower back pain, anxiety, and other PMS symptoms.
To get the most benefits, drink cranberry juice regularly in the days leading up to your period.
Aids In Digestion
Cranberry juice is also a good source of fiber. Fiber helps add bulk to the stool and promotes regularity. This can be helpful if you’re struggling with constipation. Cranberry juice may also help relieve diarrhea by helping to restore the normal balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
What’s more, cranberry juice is low in calories and can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight (1).
May Help Lower Cholesterol
Cranberry juice contains pectin, a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Pectin works by binding to cholesterol and keeping it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. This helps reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while raising HDL (“good”) (3).
Cranberries are also a good source of vitamin C, which is important for immune system function. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage. It can also help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
How Much Cranberry Juice Should You Drink?
There is no officially recommended daily intake of cranberry juice. However, many experts suggest drinking 1–2 cups (240–475 ml) per day to reap the most health benefits.
To get the most benefit from cranberry juice, it’s best to drink it unsweetened. You can also look for juices that are fortified with other nutrients, such as calcium or vitamin D.
When shopping for cranberry juice, be sure to read the label carefully. Some juices may contain added sugar or other ingredients that you don’t want. Choose a 100% pure juice without any added sweeteners.
Should You Take Cranberry Supplements?
Cranberry supplements are available in pill, capsule, and liquid form. They usually contain PACs, which are the compounds responsible for most of cranberries’ health benefits.
Supplements may be a good option if you don’t like the taste of cranberry juice or if you want a more concentrated dose of its nutrients.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Cranberry Juice?
Cranberry juice is generally safe for most people. However, some people may experience side effects, such as:
Interaction With Certain Medications
Cranberry juice may interact with some medications, such as blood thinners and diuretics. This is because cranberries contain compounds that can affect how these drugs work.
If you take medication, talk to your doctor before drinking cranberry juice.
Drinking too much cranberry juice may cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, or nausea. If you experience these side effects, try reducing your intake or Diluting your juice with water.
People with a history of kidney stones should be cautious about drinking cranberry juice. This is because cranberries can increase the levels of oxalate in urine, which can lead to kidney stones.
If you have kidney stones, talk to your doctor before drinking cranberry juice. They may recommend limiting your intake or avoiding it altogether.
The Bottom Line
Cranberry juice is good for female health. It can help to prevent UTIs and ease menopausal as well as PMS symptoms. It may also help with digestion, weight loss, and cholesterol levels. Drink 1-2 cups of cranberry juice per day for the most health benefits. Choose unsweetened cranberry juice and avoid juices with added sugar. Supplements are also available if you don’t like the taste of this juice.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Low-energy cranberry juice decreases lipid oxidation and increases plasma antioxidant capacity in women with metabolic syndrome (2011, sciencedirect.com)
- Antimicrobial effect of cranberry juice and extracts (2011, sciencedirect.com)
- Effects of cranberry juice consumption on vascular function in patients with coronary artery disease (2011, oup.com)
- Cranberry juice and combinations of its organic acids are effective against experimental urinary tract infection (2017, nih.gov)
- American cranberries and health benefits — an evolving story of 25 years (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)