Health benefits of Cranberries
Antioxidant compounds in cranberries such as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC’s), anthocyanidin flavonoids, cyanidin, peonidin and quercetin may prevent cardiovascular disease by counteracting against cholesterol plaque formation in the heart and blood vessels. Further, these compounds help the human body lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL-good cholesterol levels in the blood.
Research studies show that cranberry juice consumption offers protection against gram-negative bacterial infections such as E.coli in the urinary system by inhibiting bacterial-attachment to the bladder and urethra.
Consumption of cranberries turns urine acidic. This, together with the bacterial anti-adhesion property of cranberry juice helps prevent the formation of alkaline (calcium ammonium phosphate) stones in the urinary tract by working against proteus bacterial-infections.
Further, the berries prevent plaque formation on the tooth surface by interfering with the ability of another gram-negative bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, to stick to the surface. It thus helps prevent the development of cavities in a way similar to the action in preventing urinary tract infections.
In addition, the berries are an also good source of many vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, ß-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, and folate and minerals like potassium, and manganese.
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or ORAC (measurement of antioxidant strength of food items) demonstrates cranberry at an ORAC score of 9584 µmol TE units per 100 g, one of the highest in the category of edible berries.