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Researchers Identify Mechanism Behind Cranberries Urinary Tract Health Benefits

Cranberries have long been associated with improved urinary tract health, but it has not always been clear what, exactly, was responsible for that effect. A recent study suggests that the oligosaccharides in cranberries may help inhibit the formation of E. coli biofilms and support urinary tract health.


For their study, researchers extracted a phenolic-free carbohydrate faction from cranberry and determined that it primarily contained oligosaccharides at various degrees of polymerization. Oligosaccharides are carbohydrates characterized by the simple sugars they contain.


After additional structural analysis, they found that the oligosaccharides present in cranberry were mainly xyloglucan and arabinan residues.


The researchers then conducted antimicrobial assays, which indicated that the phenolic-free carbohydrate faction could potentially reduce E. coli CFT073 biofilm production by more than 50% and E. coli MG1655 biofilm production by as much as 60%.


The researchers concluded that the anti-infective properties of cranberries come from multiple sources, including polyphenols and oligosaccharides, which are present in the whole cranberry fruit.


Researchers from the University of Rhode Island conducted the study. It was published in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of Functional Foods.


Cranberries are packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants. They have been shown to provide a lengthy list of health benefits including improved urological health, heart health protection, and help controlling excess inflammation. They also have been linked with lower plaque formation on teeth and improved cholesterol levels.

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