In the world of medicinal foods there are all kinds of difficult questions. This is generally because there are many of the proverbial “old wife’s tales” still floating around. One commonly heard question is – “is cranberry juice good for your kidneys?”
Actually, this is a great subject because so many people don’t exactly understand how cranberry juice, kidneys, and the urinary tract can all work together. First of all, cranberries may have a “zingy” and acidic taste that seems almost medicinal, but how they assist the body the most is with the flavonoids they contain.
Many plant-based foods are known to have an ability to deliver anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-microbial properties. This is exactly what the flavonoids do, and when they are the type contained in cranberries, they work almost as an antibiotic.
What happens when someone drinks a daily glass of cranberry juice is that the flavonoids head into the urinary tract (which includes the kidneys) and attach to bacteria that most frequently appears there. As the juice passes through the urinary system, the bad bacteria are pulled away with it.
Remember too that cranberries also contain massive amounts of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and beta-carotene which all work to prevent the formation of kidney stones and will seriously reduce the likelihood of the dreaded “UTI” or urinary tract infection. Interestingly enough, the juice can also help to kill off oral bacteria which causes gum disease, which protects body systems affected by poor oral health.
The thing to remember, however, is that most commercially prepared cranberry juices are full of sugar or are blends of other juices. If you desire the benefits of cranberries, you will need to seek out a 100% cranberry juice, or better yet, you can make your own fresh, organic cranberry juice.
Remember, however, that pure and undiluted cranberry juice is incredibly tart. You may want to tinker with a recipe of your own that incorporates other fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Many people find that a blend of beet or apple juice really sweetens the flavor and makes a nice soothing beverage.
One last word about cranberry juice, kidneys and the urinary tract is that some people with sensitive bladders will find that too much cranberry irritates them. This is especially true for those with a condition known as interstitial cystitis.
People with bladder stones also find that they must monitor their cranberry juice intake because of the acidity levels as well. Usually these are the folks who have to rely on blends to remain comfortable.