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Do you juice cranberries? Drinking cranberry juice supports the bladder, the urinary system and helps with circulation of the blood.

Cranberry juice prevents bladder infections

In recent research, scientists have shown that drinking cranberry juice can cure bladder infections and extracts from the fruit could even keep medical devices free of bacteria.

Thousands of patients develop complications from catheters, thin tubes that deliver fluids or drain urine, because they allow bugs on the skin to easily enter the body and infect tissue or blood. A study has now found how chemicals in cranberries alter bacterial behaviour, pointing to a potential role for derivatives in implantable devices.

Consuming the cranberries has been associated with prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) for more than a hundred years, although some experts have claimed it is a myth with no basis in fact, but experiments have found that cranberry powder stopped Proteus mirabilis, a bacterium frequently implicated in complicated bladder infections, from colonising and swimming together. Increasing concentrations of the extract also reduced the bacteria’s production of urease, an enzyme that contributes to the virulence of infections, the Canadian Journal of Microbiology reports online.

“Our findings highlight the role cranberry consumption might play in the prevention of chronic infections”

These results build on previous work by the same team showing cranberries hinder movement of other bacteria involved in bladder infections.

Bacterial movement is a key mechanism for the spread of infection, as bugs literally swim to disseminate in the urinary tract and escape the body’s immune response.

Professor Nathalie Tufenkji, of McGill University, Montreal, said: “While the effects of cranberry in living organisms remain subject to further study, our findings highlight the role cranberry consumption might play in the prevention of chronic infections. More than 150 million cases of UTI (urinary tract infection) are reported globally each year, and antibiotic treatment remains the standard approach for managing these infections. The current rise of bacterial resistance to antibiotics underscores the importance of developing another approach.”

Cranberry Juice ‘Good for Heart’

Research by French scientists suggests a blend of fruit juices, including grape, cranberry and blackcurrant, may have benefits for the heart.

The research, published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal, Food and Function, looked at polyphenols in fruit and berries and found the most active fruits included blackcurrant, blueberry, aronia (choke berries), cranberry, lingonberry and grape.

“Eating fruit and vegetables is good for us in terms of reducing our risk for heart disease”

Commenting on the study, Tracy Parker, heart health dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This research adds more weight to evidence that eating fruit and vegetables is good for us in terms of reducing our risk for heart disease. However, we still don’t fully understand why, or whether certain fruits and vegetables are better than others. Even this study acknowledges that scientists can’t yet explain any link. What we do know is that we should all eat a wide range of fruit and veg as part of a balanced diet, and fruit juice is a tasty and handy way of doing this.”

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