CRANBERRY JUICE GAINS RESPECT
Discover the benefits of a daily glass
Clinicians and folklorists have long known that cranberry juice helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Now scientists have discovered how.
The disease is very common, especially among women. About half of all women will have a UTI at least once. Symptoms include painful and frequent urination, cloudy urines, pressure sensations in the lower abdomen and fever. Additionally, left untreated, UTI can cause permanent urinary incontinence.
How do cranberries help?. UTIs are caused by bacteria that have hair-like projections known as fimbriae. These attach to healthy cells, creating the infection. But researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute found that even low concentrations of cranberry juice can form a kind of barrier that won't allow the bacteria to latch onto the cells. However, that barrier is only temporary, the study found. "This suggests that to realize the antibacterial benefits, one must consume cranberry juice regularly, perhaps daily," observes Terri Camesano, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The good news: Both regular cranberry juice cocktail and the sugar-free variety are effective, her research shows.
Here are other easy ways to prevent infection, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Always wear underwear with a cotton crotch.
Always urinate when you feel the urge. Don't wait too long.
Always urinate before and after sex.
After urinating, always wipe from front to back.
Thoroughly clean the genitals every day.
Avoid douching or using a feminine spray.
UTIs are easily treatable with antibiotics but can lead to serious illness if they spread to your kidneys. Always see a health care provider if you have symptoms.