Here's What Drinking Cranberry Juice Can And Can't Do For You

Of every fruit juice, cranberry juice perhaps carries the most rumors and discussion of its health benefits. There are beliefs that extraordinary things can happen to your body if you drink cranberry juice every day, and some believe that it can help your skin. Probably its most common usage, though, is as a urinary tract infection (UTI) reliever.

It's unknown why this juice specifically has so much discussion surrounding it, but because it comes directly from a fruit, it inherently packs a punch of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. In fact, according to WebMD, cranberries give you small amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and K, along with folate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and copper. Their biggest vitamin density, though, is vitamin C, with one standard serving of cranberry juice giving you 39% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. Excellent too is their high level of antioxidants, which can help keep you healthy.

According to WebMD, vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, aids your immune system, helps your body produce collagen, and helps your body heal if you have an injury. Antioxidants on the other hand prevent free radicals from damaging your DNA, meaning they can help prevent you from developing serious health conditions like heart disease.

The belief that cranberry juice can cure UTIs may or may not be true

Cranberries and their juice are not only used for overall health today, but have also been used throughout history. According to Healthline, they've historically been used to treat upset stomachs, liver problems, and urinary health issues. In fact, while cranberries are often thought to only treat UTIs, they can also prevent them. Healthline explained that this fruit and its juice contain a compound known as proanthocyanidins, which is believed to stop bacteria that would cause a UTI from ever attaching itself to your urinary tract. Scientific research isn't completely conclusive on this yet, though.

At the same time, cranberry juice can aid your overall digestive health. H. pylori is a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers when left unchecked, and it's thought that cranberry juice's properties can stop this bacteria from growing in your stomach, preventing ulcers from forming. According to Healthline, some research on animals has shown that cranberry juice may even help prevent colon cancer, though this needs more research.  

Ultimately, all of the scientific evidence regarding cranberry juice's health benefits are mixed, with little actual evidence backing them up. According to Penn Medicine, science hasn't fully backed the idea that UTIs can be treated with this juice, and they recommend always visiting your doctor if you have one or think you do.