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Cranberry Guide: The Human Oil Change

Most of us think cranberry or of cranberries during the holidays, but they’ve actually been used year-round in North America for centuries. The indigenous people used them for healing wounds and dyeing fabric and also mixed them with meat to make pemmican, a jerky-like food that can keep for months or even years.

To this day, pemmican is used for ceremonial purposes or as a survival food.  When it comes to modern natural health use, cranberries are best known for supporting the bladder and urinary tract. It’s known to refresh the system like a human oil change!

What are Cranberries?

One of the most unusual fruits in the world, cranberries thrive in sandy bogs and marshes and are one of only three fruits native to North America. When you think of cranberries, you likely think of Massachusetts, but they’re also grown in Wisconsin, New Jersey and the Pacific Northwest.

Cranberries are composed of fiber, carbs, vitamins, minerals and nutrients including:

Vitamin C

An important antioxidant for skin, muscles, bone and immune health.

Vitamin E

Fights free radicals and supports heart health.

Vitamin K

Vital for blood flow and circulation.


Trace element often missing from the Western diet.


Called flavonol polyphenols – a bioactive plant compound that supports health and wellness.


For heart, blood and bladder support.


Work to protect healthy cells, especially important for the urinary tract.

Benefits of Cranberry Juice and the Berry

It’s thought that several unique plant compounds in one of our favorite herbs, cranberries help maintain bladder health by keeping bladder tissues clean and may discourage repeat bladder issues. Cranberries are also thought to support heart and blood vessel health since they have same heart-smart flavonoids that are commonly found minerals in red wine and grapes.

There have been recent studies about cranberries and oral health. It seems they thwart plaque and decay. This has led to cranberry-infused toothpaste and mouthwash, available at your local retailer.

How to Include Cranberries into Your Daily Routine

  1. Make your own cranberry sauce by adding sugar, cinnamon and orange juice then cooking it over medium heat.
  2. Add cranberries to your favorite baked bread or coffeecake.
  3. Cook cranberries with apples and oatmeal for a tasty snack or ice cream topping.
  4. Blend cranberries into a vinaigrette for salad dressing.
  5. Create a custom punch mix by adding cranberry juice to pineapple or orange juice.
  6. Add them to a yogurt/banana smoothie for a tart kick.

Cranberry Juice and Supplements

When it comes to cranberries, there are many different forms to choose from.

Juice – This is probably what most of us are familiar with detox users. While juice is widely available, be sure to carefully read the label for sugars and other ingredients you may not want.

Liquids Ideal for individuals who have difficulty swallowing pills, liquids have increased in popularity. They’re often flavored and can be taken by the spoonful or added to your favorite beverage.  Cranberry concentrate liquids have become popular for smoothies or natural topping for yogurt or ice cream.

Tablets – Tablets often contain many inactive substances that dissolve but can cause stomach upset in certain individuals. They are often an effective and economical choice.

Gummies What began as a way to get children to take their vitamins, quickly expanded to adult use. Gummies’ delicious flavors, however, usually means less nutritional value.

Tips for Urinary Health

  • Drink water.
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Take time to fully empty your bladder.
  • Practice Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor.
  • Ladies, wipe from front to back.
  • Urinate after sex.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Focus on healthy fats like nuts, avocados and fatty fish.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Fun Facts about Cranberries

  • Cranberries are a member of the heather family.
  • Only about 5% of cranberries are sold fresh. Most are canned, frozen or in juices.
  • The cranberry is one of only a few fruits native to North America.
  • In the early years, American sailors craved cranberries for the vitamin C which prevents scurvy.
  • Recipes using cranberries date back to the 1700s.
  • Cranberries are about 90% water.
  • Cranberries are not grown in the water, but in sandy bogs or marshes.
  • Americans consume about 80 million pounds of cranberries during Thanksgiving.
  • Most cranberries are grown in five states: Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. 
  • Cranberries are typically in season from October to December.

When it comes to healthy berries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries often come to mind, but cranberries should top the list too. Cranberries offer more than 20 different antioxidant phytonutrients that help fight free radicals along with specific flavonoids to support bladder health. If you want to feel refreshed, cleansed and healthy, make cranberries a part of your daily regimen and feel the difference this “oil change” can make.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary.

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