Cranberries – Not just for sauce

February 20, 2008

For many of us, cranberries are forever associated with turkey and Christmas, but this small red berry has a range of health benefits. Research conducted by Tel Aviv University professor Itzhak Ofek and his colleagues is revealing a surprising array of benefits beyond their well-known role in helping prevent urinary tract infections, Dr Ofek has discovered that cranberry juice can help prevent cavities, fight influenza, and reduce the recurrence of gastric ulcers. However, the berries appear to provide a greater benefit to women than men. Apparently it is a compound known as non-dialyzable material or NDM in the berries that appears to coat some of the body’s surfaces which prevents the adherence of infectious agents while not affecting the body’s beneficial bacteria.

In simple terms what this means is that there is specific inhibitor in cranberry juice that doesn’t let infections adhere to a woman’s bladder. Many women drink cranberry juice as a precaution against bladder infections, and if you can find it then try to get one without artificial sweeteners or an unsweetened one and add honey to taste.

A trial at Tel Aviv University’s School of Dental Medicine has revealed other benefits as they found that NDM inhibits oral bacteria from sticking to tooth surfaces and this helped reduce the number of cavities in the mouth, and therefore the number of fillings too.

Last June in the journal of Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, an article coauthored by Dr Ofek described how effect of cranberries helped reduce or get rid of H. Pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers. Though again the benefits only seem to apply to women – sorry chaps.


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