Cranberries and Urinary Tract Infections
Germs can create health problems, including urinary tract infections. More than 150 million people around the world experience a UTI each year, making it one of the most common bacterial infections. Unfortunately, many people still do not know that cranberries are a superfood for managing urinary tract infections
Taking antibiotics is one of the most effective ways to treat this infection, but it also comes with a higher risk of developing other problems, such as fungal infections. Other side effects include nausea, vomiting, rash, or diarrhoea. Another issue is the efficacy of antibiotics becoming compromised due to resistance from overuse.
Instead of taking medications to treat a mild urinary infection, you can try to prevent or overcome an infection naturally. There is one popular, very effective option – the use of cranberries.
Cranberries As A Superfood
Cranberries contain many nutrients and antioxidants, that’s why they’re considered a superfood. They contain vitamin C, flavonoids, and organic acids. They contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), which have also been noted as being effective in improving oral health.
Cranberries are rich in polyphenols, which are believed to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They can also help reduce body mass index and help improve blood sugar levels.
Preclinical studies of cancer cells in test tubes also showed that cranberries have a significant positive effect on cancer cells by slowing down their growth and triggering their death.
Are Cranberries Effective for UTI Management?
Cranberries have proven effective in managing many urinary tract infections. A study conducted by a team of researchers showed that cranberry capsules can lower the risk of contracting a UTI.
However, studies are divided as to the effectiveness of cranberries in treating or preventing UTIs. Other reports say that they don’t help much in reducing recurring UTIs, while some point out the inconsistent amounts of active ingredients in cranberry supplements.
Cranberry Capsules Vs. Cranberry Juice
Unfortunately, the typical cranberry juice found on the market won’t work as well as you hope in treating UTIs. Experts say that you have to drink a large amount of concentrated cranberry juice to treat UTIs. It may help keep your body hydrated, but it will no longer contain proanthocyanidins once it reaches your bladder.
Cranberry capsules can be a better option. One capsule is equivalent to 8 ounces of cranberry juice, so it’s easier to take.
Cranberry Isn’t For Everyone
While you may find cranberries to be a convincing treatment for UTIs, you have to consider other factors as well to know if it’s right for you. For instance, cranberry is rich in oxalates, and taking it often in high doses can contribute to kidney stones.
You should also avoid taking cranberry products if you’re on warfarin medication because it could lead to uncontrolled bleeding. Whether it’s a cranberry supplement or an increased intake of cranberry juice, it’s better to consult your doctor first.
Other Natural Methods of Treating UTIs Without Antibiotics
Besides cranberries, there are other natural steps you can do. The following measures can help prevent or treat UTIs –
- Drink plenty of water – Water will dilute urine and help it pass through the urinary tract faster, making it harder for bacteria to breed to levels that constitute an infection.
- Use probiotics – Good bacteria, such as lactobacilli, can protect your urinary tract by preventing dangerous bacteria from adhering to urinary tract cells, by producing a strong antibacterial component in your urine and by lowering your urine’s pH level.
- Take vitamin C – Vitamin C is known to help boost your immune system, lower the pH level of your urine, and form nitrogen oxides to kill bacteria.
Is There Any Way To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections?
Yes, there are ways to help prevent urinary tract infections. Keep these things in mind to keep your urinary system healthy.
- After urinating, make sure to wipe your genitals from front to back and not the other way around.
- Always keep the area between the genitals and anus clean.
- Take a shower instead of bathing in a tub.
- Avoid applying commercial products like powders to your genital area.
- Urinate right away when you feel the urge.
Cranberries are showing positive results as an alternative treatment for urinary tract infections. However, more studies need to be conducted to further prove its effectiveness. However, there is compelling anecdotal evidence from many women who take cranberry supplements either as a preventative or when they feel the first signs of a possible UTI.
Before you decide to take cranberry capsules or drink cranberry juice to treat your UTI, it’s better to talk to your doctor first to know if it’s right for you. Also, practice habits that keep your urinary system healthy so that you’ll have less chance of contracting a UTI.