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The NatureCity Guide to Cranberry Benefits

Table of Contents

For decades cranberry juice and cranberry supplements have been recommended to support numerous aspects of one’s health and wellness, but can it truly be helpful? We're going to break it down for you and discuss what you need to know about cranberries and how they can help support our health.

History of Cranberries in North America

Cranberries have been around in North America since the glacial era. Wide stretches of low-lying wetland that are ideal for cranberry cultivation were left by glaciers when the ice caps melted following the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago. Fast forward to the 19th and 20th centuries, where cranberries were important to the economies of Massachusetts and its adjacent states.

Wisconsin produces the most cranberries, 4.64 million barrels in total in 2020 (100 pounds of cranberries fit into a barrel.), while Massachusetts (2.06 million barrels) and Oregon (558,000 barrels) are the next-largest domestic producers.1

Nearly 400 million pounds of cranberries are consumed by Americans each year, 20% of which are consumed during the week leading up to Thanksgiving.1

Cranberry Health Benefits

Aside from being naturally sweet and vibrant in color, cranberries possess the following health benefits:

  1. Rich in Antioxidants: Cranberries, like other fruits, contain potent compounds that function as antioxidants, such as: vitamins C, E, and quercetin. Antioxidants protect your body from the cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals speed up aging and are linked to numerous diseases and health conditions2. In addition, cranberries contain a type of powerful polyphenols called proanthocyanidins (PACs). These compounds support the antioxidant properties of cranberries, and are believed to be a key part of their health benefits. 
  2. May Support Heart Health: Cranberries also contain phytonutrients which support anti-inflammatory effects. Blood vessels, notably the arteries, can be harmed over time by inflammation affecting one’s cardiovascular health. Cranberries include phytonutrients that may delay the onset of inflammation which may provide support for heart health.2
  3. Supports a Healthy Gut: Phytonutrients (that are in cranberries) have been shown to support the well-being of the gut microbiome.3 Our gut microbiome is linked to not only digestion but also immunity, as 70% of our immune system lives in our gut.4
  4. Supports Urinary Tract Health: Proanthocyanidins (PACs), compounds frequently present in plants which contribute to their bright colors, are present in cranberries. By helping to prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary system, it is thought that these substances can aid in the support of a healthy urinary tract because an infection cannot flourish if bacteria cannot multiply and spread.5 Note: The FDA recently outlined a qualified claim that indicates supplements with 500mg of whole cranberry fruit powder per serving may reduce the risk of recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) in healthy women. Here’s the official FDA claim language: “Limited scientific evidence shows that by consuming 500 mg each day of cranberry dietary supplement, healthy women who have had a urinary tract infection (UTI) may reduce their risk of recurrent UTI”.
  5. Supports Prostate Health: Recent research suggests that certain doses of cranberry powder can provide benefits for prostate health (in addition to urinary tract health) in men.6

How do cranberry extracts compare to drinking cranberry juice?

Scientific evidence exists indicating both cranberry extracts and cranberry juice may support a healthy urinary tract. It’s frequently suggested that high quality cranberry powder extracts taken as supplements may be preferable because they provide a consistent (and often higher) amount of key cranberry nutrients, without the sugar usually found in cranberry juice. In fact, cranberry juice can have as much as 30 grams of sugar per cup. On the other hand, cranberry extracts are low in sugar. For those not wanting to consume excess calories and sugar from juice whether they are managing their weight or their blood sugars, it is clear that a low or no sugar supplement containing cranberry extract would be a much more sensible choice.

What is PACran®?

Need a natural solution for supporting urinary tract health? That’s where PACran® comes in. PACran® is an innovative ingredient designed to help support a healthy urinary tract.

One of the keys to PACran®’s potency is the type of cranberries used – which are the rare “Early Black” cranberries. In fact, these berries are harvested from cranberry bogs in Massachusetts that are over 100 years old. Early Blacks are used because they’re the most potent cranberries around – and are the reason why PACran® naturally contains up to twice as many PACs as other whole cranberry powders.

Most cranberry extract powders are derived from cranberry fractions such as juice concentrate or certain isolated phytochemicals such as PACs. In contrasts, PACran® is a proprietary blend of the whole fruit. PACran® offers it all; the juice, the flesh, the skins and the seeds.  As a whole cranberry matrix PACran® delivers the entire spectrum of the cranberry.

PACran® is also a key ingredient of NatureCity's AloeCran. AloeCran is a delicious sugar-free drink alternative to cranberry juice with organic aloe vera, whole cranberry fruit extract and 5 grams of soluble dietary fiber per serving. Not only does AloeCran promote urinary tract health and intestinal health, but it also supports healthy digestion, promotes regularity, and helps maintain already-healthy cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels.

What is Flowens®?

Urinary tract health is often only discussed in regards to women’s health, however Flowens® is a cranberry extract that has been developed specifically for men. Research on Flowens® has indicated that it supports urinary tract and prostate health when 500mg is taken daily6. NatureCity’s TrueProstate provides the full 500mg daily serving of Flowens® to help optimize potential benefits. TrueProstate helps reduce urinary frequency, urgency and straining, Helps promote bladder emptying and a stronger urination stream and helps protect prostate cells and tissue from free radical damage.

As you can see, there are numerous benefits to incorporating a cranberry extract supplement into your daily life. Whether you are enjoying a glass of AloeCran or taking TrueProstate each day, it is easy to make sure you are taking advantage of the benefits that this nutritional powerhouse has to offer.

 

 

 

References:

  1. https://www.wisfarmer.com/story/news/2021/08/17/wisconsin-cranberry-growers-again-lead-nation-production/8171235002/Cranberries. Agmrc.org. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29476238/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001875/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33803407
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33757474/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26049866/
- Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, LDN
Maryann is a registered dietitian & wellness expert who's helped thousands achieve their nutrition and wellness goals while still being able to live their lives and enjoy the foods they love! Read more from Maryann!
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