The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is also called large red lingonberry, atoca or ataka. It is native to North America (eastern Canada, and the eastern United States, in North Carolina at high altitude). Cranberries are one of the three most traded fruits in America. Cranberries are a particularly rich source of phenolic phytochemicals. Cranberries contain phenolic acids (benzoic, hydroxycinnamic, ellagic acids and flavonoids such as anthocyanins and proanthocyans.
Possible health benefits:
Urinary tract infections (cystitis)
Cranberries are best known for their role in preventing urinary tract infections, especially for those with recurrent infections. The high level of proanthocyanidins (PAC) in cranberries helps reduce the adhesion of certain bacteria (especially Ecoli) to the walls of the urinary tract, in turn, by preventing bacteria from adhering to them and causing a urinary tract infection (see urinary tract infections / how it works).
Some evidence suggests that the polyphenols (anthocyanins, proanthocyanes, etc.) in cranberries may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by preventing platelet buildup and reducing blood pressure via an anti-inflammatorymechanism.
Research has shown that cranberries can slow tumor progression in prostate, liver, breast, ovarian and colon cancers.
Researchers from the Department’s Centre for Oral Biology Eastman Dentistry from the University of Rochester Medical Center argue that the proanthocyanes contained in cranberries help prevent urinary tract infections, can also prevent bacteria from binding to teeth and thus be beneficial in the prevention of gum disease including periodontia.