Previous research has shown that cranberries are rich in antioxidants, which can protect cells from free radicals -- unstable molecules that damage the cells of animals as they age. Now, new research is being funded by the National Institutes of Health in order to discover cranberries' effects on yeast infections, heart disease and other conditions, while concurrent studies are analyzing the fruit's effect on cancer, stroke and infections.
Research has already shown that cranberry juice binds to bacteria, preventing them from sticking to cell walls and causing urinary tract infections, and regular cranberry juice consumption can reduce the risk of stomach cancer and ulcers in some people by killing the H. pylori bacteria. Your teeth can even benefit from cranberries, as Howell has discovered that a compound in the fruit -- known as proanthocyanidine -- can prevent plaque from forming on teeth. A mouthwash containing proanthocyanidine is being developed to prevent periodontal disease.
Preliminary research has also found that cranberry juice can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raise levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood; cranberries can slow tumor growth or preven them altogether; and certain chemical extracts from cranberries prevented the multiplication of breast cancer cells in a test tube, although the effect on a woman is still unknown.
More information on the health benefits of cranberries and other natural foods, as well information on foods that might help treat specific conditions, can be found at www.HealingFoodReference.com.