More Good Reasons To Drink Cranberry Juice

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Health

Cranberry juice is a staple in most women’s store cupboard either as a preventive, or treatment, for cystitis but it now seems it has even wider applications as new research shows it has promise in blocking Staph Infections. These are very common and caused by a Staphylococcus (or staph) infection that often begins with a small cut, which then gets infected with bacteria.

Normally around a quarter of the population carry staph in the nose, mouth, genitals, and anal area but the prime area is usually the foot — especially if you go barefoot as it is very easy to pick up bacteria from the floor. Strains of S. aureus can cause a range of staph infections from minor skin rashes to serious bloodstream infections and one particular strain, known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, (MRSA), is a growing problem in hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions because it doesn’t respond to most antibiotics. As we have recently seen, because of the overuse of antibiotics, our bodies have developed resistance to them which renders them relatively ineffective.

So the good news is that researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts have recently carried out a small clinical study that appears to show that a cranberry juice cocktail blocked a strain of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) from beginning the process of infection.

Terri Camesano, professor of chemical engineering at WPI, has done previous work with cranberry juice studying its effects on E. coli and urinary tract infections, but they included Staphylococcus aureus in this latest study because it is a very serious health threat. Although it is in its early stages, the results of the study are surprising.

Their analysis showed that subjects who had recently consumed cranberry juice cocktail significantly reduced the ability of E. coli and S. aureus to form and that Staphylococcus aureus showed the most significant results in this study.

These results do appear to create more questions than answers, according to lead researcher Camesano, but it seems to me that taking out some natural health insurance in the form of a daily glass of cranberry juice couldn’t hurt.

Cranberries – Not just for sauce

February 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Wellness, Womens Health

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.