Archives for: July 2012, 20
We were having breakfast with some friends last week, and I was drinking cranberry juice. “T” asked if I had been reading the reports that cranberries were dangerous. I had heard no such thing, but I was curious.
Since menopause, I’ve taken cranberry capsules 3-5 days a week as a preventative measure against urinary tract infections. It has worked great, and I didn’t want to give it up and go back to antibiotics.
I’ve been preoccupied with work, but I finally had a chance to do some research. Every site I went on had mostly great things to say about cranberries and cranberry juice, but there were a few warnings.
One site confirmed what my doctor once told me about cranberry. “People used to think that cranberry worked for urinary tract infections by making the urine acidic and, therefore, unlikely to support the growth of bacteria. But researchers don’t believe this explanation any more. They now think that some of the chemicals in cranberries keep bacteria from sticking to the cells that line the urinary tract where they can multiply. Cranberry, however, does not seem to have the ability to release bacteria which are already stuck to these cells. This may explain why cranberry is possibly effective in preventing urinary tract infections, but possibly ineffective in treating them.”
The danger my friend had heard about was the association between high consumption of cranberry and kidney stones. Even cranberry capsules raise urinary oxalate levels, so it is probably wise not to take cranberry - as a fruit, a juice, or a pill - every day.
Cranberry does react with several prescription medications. I didn’t know that, but since I don’t take any prescription medications, I don’t have to worry.
The thing I learned that surprised me was that cranberry contains salicylic acid - an important ingredient in aspirin. Drinking cranberry juice, like taking aspirin, can reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. In other words - it is a blood thinner. That is a good thing for thick blooded type As, but not so great for Type Os like me whose blood is thin already.
I had often wondered why on the BTD food list, cranberry is beneficial for three blood types, but neutral for Os. Perhaps its blood thinning properties have something to do with that. However on the GTD, cranberry is either beneficial or super beneficial for all Types.
I never found anything that recommended that everyone stop cranberry. You just have to weigh the benefits against the possible side effects.