Cranberry Juice – Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects

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What is Cranberry Juice?: Cranberry juice is made from cranberries, members of the Ericaceae family, one of the native fruits of North America. The Latin name for the cranberry plant is Vaccinium macrocarpon.

Cranberries have a tremendous amount of antioxidant capacity as compared with other vegetables and fruits, such as broccoli, spinach, or apples.

What is Cranberry Juice Good for?

Cranberry juice, made from the fruit extract or cranberry concentrate, is used to make various sauces and cocktails. These cocktails are approximately 30 percent pure cranberry juice mixed with artificial sweetener or fructose. About one liter of juice can be extracted from 1500 grams of fresh cranberries.

The fruit extract is also used to make medicines, gels, and tonics. Dried cranberries are also very healthy and can be enjoyed as a sweet addition to breakfast cereals, energy bars, granola bars, trail mixes, or baked goods like muffins.

Serving Size: 100 g1 cup (253 g)1 fl oz (31.6 g)
NutrientValue
Water [g]87.13
Energy [kcal]46
Protein [g]0.39
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.13
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]12.2
Fiber, total dietary [g]0.1
Sugars, total [g]12.1
Calcium, Ca [mg]8
Iron, Fe [mg]0.25
Magnesium, Mg [mg]6
Phosphorus, P [mg]13
Potassium, K [mg]77
Sodium, Na [mg]2
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]9.3
Thiamin [mg]0.01
Riboflavin [mg]0.02
Niacin [mg]0.09
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.05
Folate, DFE [µg]1
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]2
Vitamin A, IU [IU]45
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]1.2
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]5.1
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.07
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include: USDA 

Cranberry Juice Nutrition

According to USDA Nutrition Data, cranberry juice has an abundant supply of antioxidants and vitamins. Cranberry juice is rich in vitamin C and salicylic acid and in terms of minerals, it contains calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.

It also contains B-vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, as well as vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol). Other nutrients in cranberry juice include sodium, zinc, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin K (phylloquinone).

By containing fewer calories per cup and high water content(87%), cranberry juice fits very well within the dietary guidelines.

Fights Lung Inflammation: 

The anti-inflammatory effects of this juice have been proven to be effective against the inflammation caused in the lungs by the influenza virus. A substance called nondialyzable material or NDM present in cranberries prevents the influenza virus from sticking to the cells, hence helping to prevent flu infection. 

Side Effects of Cranberry Juice

Cranberries and cranberry juice offer a variety of health benefits, barring the few exceptions listed below:

Warfarin (Coumadin): 

Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug used as a blood thinner, and it lowers the chances of blood clots occurring in the body. These blood clots can further result in serious conditions like cardiovascular disorders or clots in the legs, lungs, and other parts of the body. Guidelines for warfarin clearly state that people who take the drug should be cautious regarding the intake of cranberry, as they are at high risk of bleeding.

Excess consumption of cranberry juice is not recommended for these people as it may affect the efficacy and safety of warfarin in the body. In such cases, it is always advisable to regularly get your blood tested in order to consume the correct dose of the medication.

Aspirin allergy:

Cranberries contain substantial quantities of salicylic acid, which is also present in aspirin. People who take blood thinners and are prescribed aspirin should avoid consuming too much cranberry juice. Intake of cranberries should also be restricted if you are allergic to aspirin (information per the Penn State Hershey report on cranberries).

Kidney stones:

Cranberry extracts contain a significant concentration of oxalate and calcium. This amplifies the chances of developing calcium oxalate stones and uric acid stones in certain people.

People who have kidney stones or have a history of kidney stones should consult a medical professional before consuming cranberry supplements or a large amount of the juice.

One study conducted by Martha Kennedy Terris and colleagues from Stanford University Medical Center has provided evidence that the juice can raise the level of oxalate in the urine by up to 43 percent. 

One cup of cranberries measures a total of 8983 antioxidant capacity. For comparison, apples have 1500mg of antioxidant vitamin C 🙂 🙂

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