Cranberry has a long history as part of our diet. A traditional holiday food, cranberry also is a popular ingredient in several commercial beverages.
Cranberry offers its users a number of benefits. In addition to being a good source of vitamin C, cranberry juice often is recommended for its positive effects on the urinary tract. Cranberry is a good source of iodine, a trace mineral that is essential for the proper function of the thyroid.
We no longer carry a cranberry product but highly recommend cranberries for urinary and bladder infections.
Cranberry offers its users a number of benefits. It is a good source of vitamin C and of iodine, a-trace mineral that is essential for the proper function of the thyroid. Cranberry juice also is a popular treatment for urinary tract infections.
THANKS TO THE NATIVE AMERICANS
Cranberry has a long history as part of our diet One of only three types of fruit native to North America, cranberry was a staple food of Native Americans. When the Europeans arrived, they quickly adopted this unique food as part of their diet.
Supposedly the Pilgrims dined on cranberry dishes at the first Thanksgiving in 1621. The colonists were unaware of cranberries's high vitamin C content, but cranberries became a favorite among New England sailors because those who ate the bright red berries did not develop scurvy.
Today, the majority of cranberries are grown in the Northeast, with Massachusetts being the largest producer. Cranberries are a traditional holiday food and are used in several different commercially available beverages.
The occurrence of kidney stones has a hereditary link, running in families, and four out of every five patients with kidney stones are males, usually between the ages of 20 and 30. Also, differences in diet and fluid intake appear to have an impact on the likelihood of developing kidney stones.
While kidney stones are more common to males, urinary tract infections are more prevalent in women. More than 60% of women experience a urinary tract infection sometime during their lifetime. For many women, infection is a chronic problem.
These infections are caused by the introduction of bacteria into the urinary tract. Once inside, they thrive in the warm, moist environment. Ultimately, they begin to affect urine production and the function of the bladder, resulting in significant pain.
Any reduction in kidney efficiency can have a drastic and immediate impact on our health. Even a partial reduction in the kidney's ability to - filter the blood will-lead to the rapid buildup of deadly toxins in the bloodstream. In severe cases, patients may require a kidney dialysis machine to artificially filter blood. Although this equipment does prevent the deadly buildup of urea and ammonia in the bloodstream, it is not as effective as the two, small, magnificent filters called kidneys that filter our blood every minute of every day.
Here's how it happens: The kidneys (one on each side of the spine just above the waist) make urine that consists of about 95% water and 5% urea and various salts. This urine exits the kidney via a long, thin tube called the ureter. The ureters (one from each kidney) drain into the bladder, a small round organ that acts as a holding tank. When the bladder fills, you get a signal that it is time to urinate. The urine passes out of your body through a canal called the urethra.
Anything that interferes with this flow may cause the urine to back up and stagnate in the bladder. The urinary tract then becomes a sitting duck for a bacterial infection.
The urinary tract is subject to several diseases. One of The more ommon is the creation of kidney stones, or calculi. Caused by disease, infections, or mineral excretion problems, the most common types of kidney stones contain various combinations of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, or oxalate. The mineral deposits range in size from less than 1/4 inch to more than an inch in diameter.
FLAVONOIDS IN CRANBERRY
When a cranberry is in its juvenile state, it is green and bitter, making it unpalatable to most animals. This is matter of survival. If the young berry were a good food source, it would be eaten too early in its development, before the seed was mature and able to reproduce a new cranberry plant.
At this early stage, the cranberry is producing a certain class of molecules known as flavonoids, substances that have been investigated for their nutritional benefits and their antibacterial activity. Studies have shown that the particular flavonoids produced by the cranberry have a strong antibacterial effect.
But this is only part of the story. As the berry matures, it benefits the plant if a bird or other animal eats the cranberry so that its seeds will be spread to new areas where it will propagate and grow. To ensure that this happens, the plant transforms the flavonoid that contributes to the fruit's bitter taste. The plant removes part of the fiavonoid molecule and replaces it with a sugar molecule, This has the effect of sweetening the fruit, making it more palatable as a food - and helping to ensure that the, plant continues to produce offspring.
THE CRANBERRY CURE
For humans, the addition of a sugar molecule to the flavonoid completes the story of cranberry's effectiveness as a nutrient within the urinary tract. In the human body, different cells have unique receptor sites. These sites can be thought of as a lock in a door requiring a unique key to open the lock. The sugar attached to the cranberry flavonoid seeks out an acceptable receptor site to attach itseff. In the case of the cranberry's particular sugar configuration, the appropriate receptor site - the cells with the right lock - happen to be those that line the walls of the urinary tract.
This explains cranberry's unique benefits. Within the cranberry is a type of flavonoid that is capable of defeating the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, and this flavonoid is attached to a sugar that seeks out the cells that line the urinary tract.
Research recommends making cranberry part of your diet if you are prone to recurrent urinary infections. Cranberry also helps deodorize urine. A report in the Journal of Psychiatric Nursing suggests incorporating cranberries into the diet of anyone troubled by urinary incontinence to reduce the embarrassing odor of this problem.
Copyright © 2003 Loren & Kathy Schiele -- All Rights Reserved