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Digest This: Cranberries Combat Bad Bacteria

Review on March 17, 2009
For generations cranberry juice has been valued for its effectiveness in warding off urinary infections, but recent research, published in the journal Colloids and Surfaces, has also demonstrated its ability to aid digestive problems.

The study, carried out by Terri Camesano, associate professor of chemical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and graduate students Yatao Liu and Paola Pinzon-Arango, and funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation, suggests that cranberry juice can be as effective as probiotics in preventing digestive problems

digestive problems cranberry

Commenting on the findings, Camesano said, 'we are beginning to get a picture of cranberry juice and, in particular, the tannins found in cranberries as, potentially potent antibacterial digestive agents.'

'These results are surprising and intriguing, particularly given the increasing concern about the growing resistance of certain disease-causing bacteria to antibiotics.'

'Our results show that cranberry juice targets the right bacteria – those that cause disease – but has no effect on nonpathogenic digestive organisms, suggesting that cranberry juice will not disrupt bacteria that are part of the natural flora in the gut.'

In simple terms, these powerful red berries help combat digestive problems by creating a type of protective barrier in the gut, which prevents bacteria from starting infections. They ward off any harmful bacteria that may upset the digestive system.

The researchers also had good news for those counting calories, as they emphasized that results showed regular cranberry juice and diet (sugar-free) cranberry juice to be equal in their effectiveness. In order to balance out digestive problems it would be necessary to consume cranberry juice on a regular basis.

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