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Is it safe to eat cranberries while on Coumadin (warfarin)?
My husband went on Coumadin this week and one of the doctors told him, "NO cranberries." When we read how low the vitamin K is in cranberries, we questioned this.

Cranberry Juice for UTIs
Judging from the women I see in my practice (admittedly not a very scientific sample, I know), there's a nearly 100% chance that if you are a woman who has ever had a urinary tract infection, somebody has told you to drink cranberry juice to help prevent (or treat) them.

Are canned cranberries bad for you?
Cranberries are really good for you, but they are not naturally sweet. Consequently, all the cranberry products you purchase will have added sugar. For instance, 100 grams of fresh cranberries contain only 46 calories, while 100 grams of cranberry sauce has 151 calories. The extra 100 calories adds up to about 6 teaspoons of sugar.


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Seeing Red: Cranberries are great for you!

A glass of cranberry juice surrounded by fresh cranberries

It's not hard to see red during the holidays because cranberries are everywhere at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But they aren't just for the holidays and offer a lot more than just their festive appearance next to the turkey.

Cranberries are packed with nutritional benefits. Most popular are the benefits in urinary tract infection (UTI) control and prevention. Recent studies have shown that cranberries provide a very special and irreversible mechanism that blocks the nasty E. coli bacteria from adhering to the wall of the bladder. This action in turn prevents the bacteria from congregating and growing, thereby preventing a urinary tract infection.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published research that Harvard University conducted in 1994 by Avorn, et al.. This study used 153 elderly women who drank 10 oz. of artificially sweetened cranberry juice everyday for six months and compared them to a control group which didn't drink cranberry juice regularly. After only 4-8 weeks they found the incidence of UTI's to be 13% lower in the cranberry juice group than in the control group.

The benefits of cranberries also goes beyond these findings. Its many properties may protect our bodies from other bacteria which can cause gum disease and ulcers. Cranberries also contain phytochemicals, which are beneficial in cancer and coronary heart disease prevention. The National Kidney Foundation recommends cranberry juice for urinary tract health.

What this means for you:

Drinking cranberry juice can be a good choice as can eating cranberries. Keep in mind that both are generally sweetened with sugar and can be higher in calories than other fruits. If you don't have a problem with UTI, it might be better to choose another fruit that has less added sugar.

First posted: October 10, 2006