Does cranberry juice really prevent urinary tract infections?
BY: Nicole Gregory
Yes! A recent study conducted by researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts found that cranberry juice compounds create an energy barrier that keeps bacteria from binding with cells in your urinary tract so that an infection can’t even begin. To get the most out of this protective effect, you need to drink cranberry juice every day. “We are still working on confirming [amounts], but most studies show that 8 to 10 ounces per day of cranberry juice cocktail is best,” says lead researcher Terri A. Camesano, Ph.D. “It needs to be consumed daily to have the maximal benefits,” she adds, “because we found that the effects of cranberry juice against bacteria do not last very long once the cranberry juice is gone from the system.”
A trip down the juice aisle will likely show a wide assortment of cranberry juice blends. So which one is best? Any juice that is at least 27 percent cranberry will do, says Camesano, and you don’t need to limit yourself to one that is particularly low or high in sugar. “We did all of our studies with commercially available cranberry juice cocktails,” she says. “Juice with added sugar or the diet or light versions are equally effective against pathogenic bacteria.”
Nicole Gregory, contributor to Live Right Live Well, is a Los Angeles-based writer who has written for numerous publications, including Weight Watchers magazine, Vegetarian Times, Viv, Fit Pregnancy and many others.