- BOSTON (AP) -- Scientists believe they have figured out why cranberry
juice can help prevent urinary infections: The secret, it seems, is concentrated
tannins in the juice, also known as proanthocyanidins.
- Urinary infections are a common problem,
especially among women, and research has shown that drinking cranberry
juice regularly can help prevent them.
- Amy B. Howell and others from Rutgers
University conducted experiments to understand exactly what in cranberry
juice does this. The study was financed by Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.
and published as a letter in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
- The test tube studies found that the
concentrated tannins from cranberry juice prevent E. coli bacteria, the
main culprit in urinary infections, from adhering to the cells that line
the urinary tract.
- The scientists believe that the substance
blocks the growth of the part of the bacteria that is necessary for them
to stick to the walls of the bladder and kidney, a crucial step in infection.
- Blueberries also contain the concentrated
tannins. But many other foods tested, including lemons, oranges, apples,
bananas and carrots, do not.
- Note - All tannins are not created equal.
The tannin in green tea, for example, does not perform that same as the
tannin in cranberry. There are unique acids in cranberry tannin not found
in other tannins: quinic acid, hippuric acid, and benzoic acid...all of
which produce the anti-adherence factor (AAF) which allow the purging of
e. coli out of the kidneys and urinary tract.