In Monday's Nutrient Insider, I showed you some exciting new research about cranberries. This simple fruit is just as effective as aspirin for easing your joint pain. But that's not all this amazing fruit can do.
In fact, there's plenty of research that shows the cranberry can help protect you from stroke and other health challenges, including viruses.
In several studies, researchers exposed rat brain cells to simulated stroke conditions. Then they exposed them to a concentrated cranberry extract. The extract reduced the death of brain cells to half of that which occurred in cells that did not receive the extract. The findings suggest that cranberries can aid recovery from stroke - particularly in its earliest stages, in which the most severe damage occurs.
But that's not all. If you've read about the health benefits of antioxidants, but you still hate broccoli, take heart! Ounce-for-ounce, cranberries may be better for you than broccoli and many folks think they taste better. An antioxidant comparison of some of the most common fruits found that the little red berry contained the highest quantity of disease-fighting phenols. This is a type of antioxidant thought to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
Studies recently found that cranberry juice even provides protection against viruses that challenge gut health. A team working at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, explored the effect of cranberry juice cocktail on two members of the rotavirus family. Rotaviruses cause intestinal disease with symptoms that include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and fever. The virus affects mainly infants and young children and is responsible for 50% of hospitalizations of children with diarrhea. The study showed that cranberry juice may be useful in preventing or treating these intestinal viral infections. The results showed cranberry juice produced an almost instant reversal of the infection.
Another study showed a suppression of the ulcer-causing H. pylori bacterium when cranberry juice was a routine part of the diet. In addition, cranberries support good gum health because they prevent plaque-causing bacteria from colonizing in the gums.
I suggest you keep a good supply of organic cranberry juice on hand and start your day with it. And feel free to eat as many of the berries as you want, especially if you're a recent stroke victim or if you're at risk for stroke. There are a growing variety of cranberry products on the market. Besides juices and sauces, there are herbal teas, pills, and dried whole cranberries. Fresh, whole cranberries are probably the healthiest, but they can be pretty tart.
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You can also take cranberries in a supplement form. For instance, Advanced Greens Formula has a healthy dose of cranberries. This is my favorite greens formula. It makes a fantastic smoothie. Or add it to cranberry juice and turn it into a power-packed juice. If you don't care for the taste of cranberries, you can add Advanced Greens Formula to water, another juice, or your favorite milk (I love almond milk). This is a great way to get the nutrients you need.
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.