Cranberries and UTI

Scientists believe they have an explanation for the long-standing observation that cranberry juice helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The secret, it seems, is concentrated tannins in the juice, also known as proanthocyanidins.

Urinary Infections are a common problem, especially among women, and research has shown that drinking cranberry juice regularly can help prevent them.

Amy B. Howell and others from Rutgers University conducted experiments to understand exactly what in cranberry juice does this. The study was financed by Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. and published as a letter in Thursday’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

The test-tube studies found that the concentrated tannins from cranberry juice prevent E. coli bacteria, the main culprit in UTIs, from adhering to the cells that line the urinary tract.

The scientists believe that the substance blocks the growth of the part of the bacteria that is necessary for them to stick to the walls of the bladder and kidney, a crucial step in infection.

Blueberries also contain the concentrated tannins. But many other foods tested, including lemons, oranges, apples, bananas and carrots, do not.

- Associated Press

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