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Cranberries: Fruit For All Seasons

By M Dee Dubroff     Aug 10, 2007 in Food
Why aren’t cranberries on our tables all year round? What is it about them that is so healthy for us? Read on and let them know you care. Maybe they will sense your desire and make a comeback. Then again, maybe not.
Most of us associate cranberries with holiday feasting, but have you ever noticed when the weather gets colder they are everywhere, and then after the holidays, they seem to disappear or hibernate, so to speak, if you will? I notice it particularly because I make my own jams and sometimes they are so plentiful and at others I couldn’t find them if I inquired in every supermarket across the borders of my state.
Cranberries are definitely beneficial to health. Researchers in a recent study discovered that for more than six million Americans, mainly women, who suffer from urinary tract infections, the consumption of a cranberry juice cocktail every day for six months reduced the level of infection. Bacteriuria (literally meaning harmful bacteria in the urine) is common among elderly women both in and out of institutions.
The study was a well-designed double blind protocol in which neither the subjects nor the researchers monitoring them knew who was receiving which treatment (cranberry or look alike, taste alike placebo). Bacteriuria was noted in 28% of urine samples in the placebo group and in 15% of the cranberry group. The difference was only found in samples taken after the first month of the study, and was sustained thereafter. Like so many other foods that are good for health, a daily dose is needed to provide ongoing benefits.
How does the consistent consumption of cranberry juice protect against bacterial infection? Researchers believe that the effect is closely related to how the bacteria attach themselves to the tissues in the body. The natural sugars in the cranberry juice act as a buffer to the bacteria attempting to adhere to the wall of the bladder. They can’t stick around and are flushed out of the body before they can cause any problems. (Too bad we can’t say the same thing about some nasty relatives sitting opposite us on our holiday tables).
Cranberries are berries for all seasons.
Have some today (if you can find them, that is).
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