Do you wake up in the morning with stiff joints or muscle aches and pains? If so, head for the refrigerator, but don't reach for the orange juice! Kick off your day with cranberry juice and you'll soon start to feel less pain.
It may sound crazy, but new research on cranberries shows that the little red fruit acts just like aspirin in the body. A couple of years ago, I told you how cranberries can help you avoid a heart attack because of this aspirin-like ability.
As you may know, doctors like aspirin's ability to reduce your chance of heart attack or any other problems that may occur when a blood vessel is blocked by blood clots. Aspirin helps prevent dangerous blood clots from forming. I'm not a big fan of aspirin because of the dangerous stomach bleeding that can occur when you use it regularly. But natural salicylates, such as cranberries, do not have this adverse side effect. And their health benefits go beyond protecting your heart.
The cranberry is native to North America and has been used in natural medicine since the 1700s. It's best known for preventing urinary tract infections. The berry actually prevents bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract and bladder.
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Today, we also know that cranberries possess very strong antioxidant power and that they support much more than urinary health. The berries are rich in healthy nutrients, such as anthocyanins and flavonoids, and are the subject of several current NIH studies.
New studies indicate that cranberries protect against inflammation. Reducing inflammation reduces pain and the risk of heart disease. Scientists exploring the anti-inflammatory effects of cranberry juice and their impact on cardiovascular disease recently learned that regular consumption of cranberry juice raises urinary salicylate concentrations. This isn't surprising since aspirin happens to be one of the most famous salicylates of all and cranberries are the side-effect-free aspirin.
Doctors also have used salicylates to relieve pain and reduce fever. And they relieve some symptoms caused by arthritis, such as swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. So it's a great juice to drink for general aches and pains. On Saturday, I'll tell you even more about this natural medicine God gave us to treat a variety of health problems.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
Blumberg JB, Camesano TA, Cassidy A, Kris-Etherton P, Howell A, Manach C, et al. "Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health." Adv Nutr. 2013 Nov 6;4(6):618-632.