Cranberries are small fruits with a somewhat sour or bitter taste. They may be eaten fresh or consumed in juice form. They are known to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). A UTI is a painful and uncomfortable disorder involving the bladder and urethra. It usually occurs when you have poor personal hygiene that can cause the bacteria escherichia coli to enter your urethra. Holding your urine for a long time can also result in an infection.
When you have a UTI, you feel a burning sensation as you urinate. You always feel an urge to urinate, but very little urine comes out every time you do. Your urine has an unpleasant smell. You feel abdominal cramps and lower back pain. UTIs, however, can be treated quickly and easily when diagnosed early. They rarely lead to complications when dealt with promptly and properly. However, if left unattended UTIs can affect the kidneys and can actually lead to death.
Recognizing the Role of Cranberries against UTIs
One effective, fast and easy way to control a UTI is by eating fresh cranberries or drinking cranberry juice daily in addition to water. Cranberries help wash away bacteria and other foreign matter that adhere to the linings of the urinary tract. It is likewise believed that cranberries, with their high acid content, help acidify the urine and thus hinder bacterial growth. Cranberries are a safe herbal choice in preventing UTIs with generally no side effects. Although cranberries act as a natural antibiotic to the urinary system, they target only the harmful bacteria, particularly those that cause UTIs. They do not have an effect on good bacteria in your body.
Eight ounces of cranberry juice each day is enough to work wonders. However, if you do not find the tangy taste of fresh cranberry fruit or juice appealing, or you cannot tolerate it at all, you may resort to cranberry capsules and tablets. They appear to be as effective without the sour taste.
Cranberries are in season from September to December. When buying cranberries, choose those that are fresh, firm, plump and fully ripened with deep red color. Those with smooth skin and without bruises are a good choice too. As an alternative, buy 100 percent cranberry juice and not cranberry drinks or cocktails, which contain more sugar and less fruit juice.
Preventing Future Infections
Drink plenty of water every day (about eight to ten glasses) to regularly flush out toxins through urine and perspiration. Observe good hygiene, and urinate at once when you need to in order to prevent developing infections. Avoid spicy foods and drinks with alcohol and caffeine as they irritate the bladder. If possible, eat fresh cranberries or drink cranberry juice every day to help avoid UTIs, as well as to help quicken recovery from an infection. For severe infections, however, it is still best to consult a physician for proper medical treatment.