The health benefits of cranberries and pomegranates
They’re super sources of disease-fighting antioxidants. Here’s what else cranberries and pomegranates can do
Soothe sore joints
Toss pomegranate seeds, called arils, from half a fruit into your lunchtime salad, and you’ll get 14 percent of your daily needs of vitamin K. Low levels are associated with a higher rate of osteoarthritis in hands and knees.
Lower your blood pressure
High blood pressure is a well-known risk factor in cardiovascular disease. A study in Clinical Nutrition showed that patients with atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, who drank pomegranate juice regularly for one year reduced their systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading) by 12 percent. The authors speculate that this could be due to the polyphenols-powerful antioxidants-in pomegranates.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth found that a cranberry compound prevented metastasis-when cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. As well, a recent University of P.E.I. study showed that proanthocyanidins from cranberries lowered the viability of human prostate cancer cells.
Protect your teeth
An Ohio State University study showed that adults who rinsed their mouth three times a day for four weeks with pomegranate extract reduced their risk of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).
Up “good” cholesterol
Need another reason to enjoy a cranberry drink? Scientists at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found that people with high cholesterol who drank three cups (750 mL) of cranberry juice cocktail a day increased the HDL cholesterol in their blood.
Prevent urinary tract infections
If you’re one of the 11 percent of women who suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI) at least once a year, you’re likely aware of the preventive power of cranberry juice. Now researchers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts are deciphering how it helps: To cause a UTI, E. coli bacteria must stick to the walls of the urinary tract. Cranberry juice keeps these bacteria from adhering, allowing them to be flushed out naturally. But this juice hasn’t proven effective as a cure once bacteria have taken hold, so see a doctor if you think you have an infection.