Drinking juice has quite a complicated history. While some health gurus try drinking juices to “detox the body,” others say juice is packed with too much sugar, and drinking too much of it can negatively affect your long-term health. However, in many cases, drinking a portioned about of certain types of 100% fruit juice can actually benefit your health in many ways by providing your body with necessary vitamins and antioxidants—and cranberry juice is definitely one of them.
Plus, it’s not just for women! While drinking cranberry juice is a popular suggestion for womanly health, there are other incredible effects for all people to benefit from. Here are a few that will likely convince you to grab a bottle on your next grocery run. Then, for even more healthy drinking tips, check out our list of the 5 Best Juices to Slow Aging.
Along with being nutrient-dense and filled with vitamin C, cranberry juice is also known to be a great source of antioxidants.
“[They are] well-understood to be one of nature’s superfoods containing tiny bioactive compounds called polyphenols which have been shown through more than 50 years of research to provide numerous health benefits,” says Audrey Perkins, Senior Manager at Ocean Spray with a Master’s in Nutrition.
A report from Advances of Nutrition proves that cranberry bioactives can positively affect “blood pressure, glucose metabolism, lipoprotein profiles, oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial function.” Cranberry juice, in particular, is a powerful way to get antioxidants. A study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found cranberry juice consumption can improve the health of those with coronary artery disease.
If your mother ever told you to drink cranberry juice for your womanly health, she wasn’t wrong. This juice can, in fact, positively affect your urinary tract health, decreasing your risk of developing infections.
“The unique combination of polyphenols found in cranberries have anti-adhesion properties that can help prevent certain bacteria from sticking within the body and help maintain urinary tract for UTI health,” says Perkins.
Another study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated women who drank 8 ounces of cranberry juice a day and found it reduced their risk of recurring UTIs by 40%. The FDA soon followed with a recommendation for women to consume cranberry juice regularly.
According to Perkins, following that study’s recommendation and consuming at least one 8-ounce serving of cranberry juice a day—such as the Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail—can help reduce the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections in healthy women.
“The powerful oxidative stress-reducing properties of cranberry polyphenols have been shown to reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and help with heart health,” says Perkins.
A study from the British Journal of Nutrition confirms, stating the consumption of cranberry juice for study participants over a 60-day period resulted in improved cardiovascular risk factors due to the cranberry’s oxidative properties.
Lastly, according to Perkins, research suggests the consumption of cranberry products can also help to maintain a balance of good bacteria in your gut—which is important for decreasing the risk of developing all kinds of diseases including metabolic diseases, cardiovascular disease, immune and endocrine disorders, cancer, bone disease, Alzheimer’s, and more.
One animal-based study from gut shows the positive benefits of polyphenol-rich cranberry extract, which positively benefits the microflora population in the gut and reduced intestinal inflammation. Chronic inflammation increases the risk of many diseases, so it’s important to keep inflammation levels low in the body.
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more