What Does Cranberry Juice Do for Your Body?

by Traci Joy, Demand Media Google
    A glass of cranberry juice offers numerous health benefits.

    A glass of cranberry juice offers numerous health benefits.

    Cranberry juice offers many health benefits, but to get the most out of your juice, select one that does not contain high-fructose corn syrup or a lot of other added sugars. If you are on blood-thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin, you should not add cranberry juice to your diet, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Cranberry juice is a natural blood thinner and may enhance the effects of these medications.

    Urinary Tract Infections

    One of the best known health benefits of cranberry juice is its ability to help prevent urinary tract infections. A UTI occurs when bacteria build up in the urinary tract and begins to spread throughout it. Researchers in Massachusetts explain that cranberry works by preventing bacteria from building up and sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. Published in the July-August 2011 issue of "Journal of Medicinal Food," their study reports that cranberry juice begins working against bacterial adhesion within two hours of consumption.

    Cholesterol Levels

    High cholesterol levels put you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Drinking cranberry juice helps reduce that risk by lowering total cholesterol levels, according to a study in the July 27, 2012 issue of the "European Journal of Nutrition." Researchers state that after eight weeks of cranberry juice consumption, rats displayed a decrease in cholesterol as well as lower triglyceride levels and improvement in the HDL/LDL ratio. This study is particularly geared to post-menopausal women, as the rats had their ovaries removed, which made them estrogen deficient.

    Regulates Blood Sugar

    High blood sugar is a risk factor for diabetes, kidney disease, blindness and stroke. Cranberry juice has the ability to help you keep blood sugar levels in check. The March 2008 issue of "Journal of Medicinal Food" published a study in which researchers found that cranberry juice consumption did not significantly raise blood sugar levels in human subjects, and even the small increase was gone within 30 minutes after ingestion. It is important to note that the cranberry juice with the most favorable results in the study was unsweetened. Those who consumed cranberry juice that was sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup exhibited a much higher increase in blood sugar levels. Many diabetics avoid consuming fruit products out of fear of a high blood sugar response. This study showed that cranberry juice may be a beneficial way to add some fruit to the diet.

    Fights Cancer

    Cranberry juice protects your body by actively defending it against cancer cells, according to a study published in the March-April 2007 issue of "Anticancer Research." When tested along with other berries, cranberries exhibited an advanced ability to stop cancer cells from growing. Cranberries were shown to be effective against breast, prostate, stomach and intestinal cancers.

    About the Author

    A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."

    Photo Credits

    • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images