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8 Health Benefits of Drinking Cranberry Juice, According to Doctors

From fewer UTIs to better heart health, here's how it can benefit you.

What you choose to put in your body—in the form of both food and beverages—can have a significant impact on your risk of chronic illness. Juice is one diet choice that, generally speaking, your body can do without. That's because most juices are brimming with added sugar and have fewer nutrients and less fiber than fresh fruit. However, some types of juice, including pure, unsweetened cranberry juice may have useful health benefits when consumed in moderation, experts say.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, it's best to consume no more than five ounces per day to keep your sugar levels low. "Too much sugar from all sources—including juice—is linked to poor health outcomes," they write.

Wondering what you stand to gain by drinking cranberry juice? According to doctors, these are the eight biggest benefits.

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It may help prevent urinary tract and bladder infections.

woman reaching for toilet paper from drawer

One of the most famous health benefits of cranberry juice is that it can help prevent urinary tract and bladder infections.

Cranberry juice contains compounds called proanthocyanidins that can help ward off UTIs by preventing bacteria, like E.coli, from sticking to the urinary tract walls, explains Raj Dasgupta, MD, chief medical advisor for Fortune Recommends Health.

Family physician and medical content creator Jill Grimes, MD, said in a recent TikTok post that you would have to drink a high volume of cranberry juice to experience these benefits but notes that some people may see results sooner than others.

"What the data shows is that for people who have recurrent bladder infections, specifically non-pregnant women and children who have recurrent bladder infections, use of cranberry product may decrease the frequency of those infections," she says.

It can promote cellular health.

Portrait of smiling female doctor wearing white coat with stethoscope around neck standing in modern private clinic hospital, looking at camera.

Cranberry juice may also promote cellular health. "Cranberry juice is loaded with antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols, which fight off harmful free radicals in your body. This helps reduce oxidative stress and lowers your risk of cancer," Dasgupta tells Best Life.

"The antioxidants in cranberries may help prevent the growth and spread of certain cancer cells, particularly ones found in breast, colon and prostate cancers," he adds.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) explains the mechanism behind these potential benefits: "Cranberries provide a modest amount of vitamin C, but the main source of cranberries' potential for cancer prevention comes from their package of phenolic compounds. These include polyphenols, found in most berries, as well as a relatively unique type of proanthocyanidin. Because many of these compounds are complex molecules broken down by gut microbes, there is potential for broad effects on the gut microbiota and inflammation. Individual differences in gut microbes could mean that people differ in cancer protection from cranberries."

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It can improve heart health.

Young doctor is using a stethoscope listen to the heartbeat of the patient. Shot of a female doctor giving a male patient a check up

There are also heart health benefits associated with cranberry juice consumption.

"The antioxidants in the cranberries can help reduce inflammation and bad LDL cholesterol, which means less risk of cardiovascular diseases," Dasgupta explains. "Some studies suggest cranberry juice might help lower blood pressure levels. The antioxidants and potassium in it can relax your blood vessels, which is good for your heart and for relaxation."

In addition, a 2011 study found that in patients with coronary artery disease, regularly drinking cranberry juice improved vascular function. "Chronic cranberry juice consumption reduced carotid femoral pulse wave velocity—a clinically relevant measure of arterial stiffness," the researchers wrote.

It can aid in digestion and gut health.

cropped photo of a person in a white t-shirt making a heart shape with their hands over their stomach
metamorworks / Shutterstock

Cranberry juice has dietary fiber, which is great for your digestion. It keeps things moving smoothly in your gut and can even help prevent digestive disorders like stomach ulcers.

Kunal Sood, MD, a double board doctor certified in anesthesiology and interventional pain medicine, agrees that this is a key benefit of cranberry juice.

"Fiber will also aid in healthy bowel movements, and the antioxidants in cranberries will reduce inflammation in your gut," he said in a recent TikTok post. "Cranberries will help as a prebiotic fiber, which will help increase the growth of good bacteria and, in turn, prevent the growth of your bad bacteria."

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It can improve your oral health.

Dentist, mirror and woman check smile after teeth cleaning, braces and dental consultation. Healthcare, dentistry and happy female patient with orthodontist for oral hygiene, wellness and cleaning

Some brands of store-bought cranberry juice are packed with sugar, meaning they can have a detrimental effect on your teeth. However, pure unsweetened cranberry juice can benefit your oral health, some research suggests.

"Cranberries can help with oral health, preventing the bacteria responsible for dental plaque and cavities from sticking to your teeth, which means fewer cavities and healthier gums," says Dasgupta.

It can boost your immune system.

Healthy older man going for a run

Cranberry juice can contain up to 27 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin C, which may translate into a more robust immune system.

"The high Vitamin C content in cranberry juice can boost your immune system, helping your body fight off infections and illnesses. Vitamin C is an important part of the production of white blood cells, which are vital for immune defense," Dasgupta notes.

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It may improve your joint health.

woman holding the joint of her middle finger, which glows red to indicate pain
Orawan Pattarawimonchai / Shutterstock

Another way that the antioxidants found in cranberry juice may benefit your health is by bringing down your overall inflammation levels, which can aid in joint health.

"This can be particularly helpful for people with conditions like arthritis, where inflammation contributes to joint pain and stiffness," Dasgupta says.

It may help you lose weight and improve insulin resistance.

doctor using a tape measurer around a man's stomach

Drinking sugary cranberry juice can cause your blood sugar to spike and your weight to rise, but experts say that unsweetened cranberry juice can have the opposite effect.

"If you're trying to watch your weight, cranberry juice is low in calories and high in water content, so it fills you up and reduces the risk of overeating," says Dasgupta.

"Cranberry juice can help you lose weight and improve your metabolic health, significantly reducing your risk of diabetes and insulin resistance," wrote Eric Berg, DC, who shares medical content under the name Dr. Berg, in an article on his website.

"Impaired liver function due to lack of adequate antioxidants can lead to fatty liver, weight gain, and stubborn belly fat. Regularly drinking cranberry juice mixed with apple cider vinegar promotes liver health, crucial for weight loss and long-term weight management," Berg added.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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