Native to North America and some parts of Europe, cranberries have been cultivated for centuries. While these tart berries can be consumed in their natural form, they are often processed and sold as juice. Cranberry juice provides a number of important health benefits — especially for women. Diabetics may want to opt for unsweetened cranberry juice to keep blood sugar levels in check.
Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections can affect many different areas of the body, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra. And while either gender can be diagnosed with this condition, it is much more likely to strike women. The 2015 review in Botanics: Targets and Therapy reports that proanthocyanidin, an antioxidant found in cranberry juice, can prevent certain types of bacteria from adhering to the wall of the urinary tract, where they can cause infection. In addition to serving as a preventative tool, cranberry juice can be used as a homeopathic remedy for those who are experiencing mild to moderate cases of urinary tract infection, according to the British Homeopathic Association.
Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer
As with other forms of juice, cranberry juice offers a number of important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C. According to the USDA, one 8-ounce serving of cranberry juice provides about 24 milligrams of vitamin C, or 30 to 35 percent of daily recommendations. BreastCancer.org reports that women who consume large amounts of vitamin C may be less likely to develop certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. Unfortunately, people who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer may not benefit from the use of vitamin C, as it can interfere with the function of certain forms of cancer therapy.
Enhanced Heart Health
Heart disease is a major killer among women. In fact, the American Heart Association notes that the disease is responsible for nearly one-third of female deaths each year. Fortunately, cranberry juice may also be an effective way for women to boost heart health. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin C, an important antioxidant, may be able to prevent heart disease by reversing the damage associated with free radicals in the body. Vitamin C is especially helpful when it comes to reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol, and slowing the progression of atherosclerosis.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition associated with high blood pressure and increased amounts of protein in the urine of pregnant women. When left untreated, this condition can result in premature birth. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that vitamin C — such as that found in cranberry juice — can be an effective way to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia for women who are at high risk for developing the condition. Supplementing with vitamin E may also provide some benefits for women at risk for pre-eclampsia.
Protection Against Ulcers
The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a common cause of peptic ulcers. And according to Mayo Clinic, more than 50 percent of people in the world may be infected with the bacteria. Women can protect themselves by drinking cranberry juice, which inhibits the growth of H. pylori, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. The antioxidant polyphenols in cranberry are responsible for the inhibitory effects.
- BreastCancer.org: Vitamin C
- American Heart Association: Facts About Heart Disease in Women
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C
- Botanics: Targets and Therapy: Cranberry products in the prevention of urinary tract infections: examining the evidence
- British Homeopathic Association: Urinary tract infections
- NIH: Vitamin C
- USDA: Basic Report: 43382, Cranberry juice, unsweetened
- Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology: Growth inhibitory action of cranberry on Helicobacter pylori.