Cranberries are not only a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, but they also contain an assortment of phytonutrients, compounds that contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Evidence suggests that incorporating cranberry concentrate, which is available as a juice or a supplement, into your diet can help enhance overall health.
Boosts Heart Health
Cranberries contain compounds that might improve heart health, according to lead researcher Kris Kruse Elliott and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Scientists investigated the effects of whole foods that are rich in antioxdiants, flavonoids and polyphenols on pigs predisposed to develop high cholesterol and heart disease. At the end of the study, which was presented at the American Physiological Society's annual meeting in April 2009, scientists observed that subjects fed cranberry juice powder for six months experienced improvements in blood vessel function, reducing the risk for both high cholesterol and heart disease.
Prevents Urinary Tract Infections
Cranberries are associated with preventing urinary tract infections, and researchers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts discovered the mechanism behind how cranberries stop infection growth. Paola Pinzon Arango and colleagues found that cranberries contain the chemicals proanthocyanidins, which stop bacteria such as E.coli from attaching to the cells that line the urinary tract and cause infection, the March 2009 issue of the "Journal of Medicinal Food" reports.
Improves Dental Health
Dr. Hyun Koo and colleagues from the University of Rochester Medical Center investigated the effects of cranberries on dental health. They discovered that cranberries disrupt the buildup of plaque on teeth known as glucan, which allows a safe haven for bacteria to grow and cause cavities. Researchers are working toward isolating the compounds found in cranberries responsible for preventing cavities.