Cranberries are small fruit-bearing shrubs producing red berries. It is quite popular knowledge that cranberries can promote health by preventing urinary tract infections, tooth decay, cardiovascular diseases, and other chronic illnesses.
It is thus a good idea to get an overview of the different kinds of cranberry products available in the market, such as cranberry sauce and cranberry juice. Specifically, cranberry juice is being integrated into the diet to deliver its purported health benefits.
There are different kinds of cranberry juice available, with different efficacies. There are concentrated cranberry juice extracts made into tablets or capsules, cranberry tincture, cranberry juice cocktails, and unsweetened cranberry juice. Of these, unsweetened cranberry juice is the most potent and beneficial.
Cranberry juice contains flavonoids, citric acid and anthocyanins. These compounds produce the positive effects of cranberry juice in the body. Specifically, unsweetened cranberry juice is rich in these compounds. Compared to other fruit juices, unsweetened cranberry juice was also noted to contain 50% more of antioxidants, which help prevent heart disease and cancer. However, since cranberry juice contains different kinds of acids, the unsweetened product tastes extremely sour. This may make it hard to consume for most people. Some individuals prefer to dilute the pure juice with water in a ratio of 4:1 or add another kind of fruit juice to the mixture, such as apple juice.
The alternative would be to use the sweetened cranberry juice. However, these juices have mostly been diluted and sweeteners added. The sweetened cranberry juice contains only about 30% of the pure juice. Thus, you would need more of the sweetened cranberry juice for it to achieve the same effects as the pure juice.
Another alternative would be to drink cranberry tablet or capsules. Based on the Cochrane review, one randomized, controlled trial revealed that there was no significant difference between the effects of pure cranberry juice compared to that of cranberry capsules in the prevention of urinary tract infections.
However, remember that drinking too much juice can result in side effects, such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. Taking 1-3 glasses of the pure, unsweetened cranberry juice daily is enough to provide you with the all the essential benefits of cranberries.