What is it about Cranberries and UTIs?

Cranberry juice has been touted as a cure for urinary tract infections (UTIs) for decades and researchers at the University of Rhode Island may have discovered one reason why. Scientists already knew that phenolic compounds (life-enhancing chemicals found in fruits and vegetables) in cranberry juice help to prevent UTIs, which are usually caused by E. coli in the urinary tract. Now researchers at URI are looking at an entirely different set of molecules – oligosaccharides – pronounced “o-lee-go-sack-rides”. Turns out that oligosaccharides inhibit growth of what’s known a biofilm, which can lead to recurring UTIs. Biofilm is a layer of microorganisms that makes cells stick together on a surface; some E. coli gets trapped under this film and survives the course of antibiotics used to treat your UTI. Once the antibiotics have left your system, the E. coli is allowed to flourish again and another UTI comes along. The oligosaccharides in cranberries can prevent the growth of the biofilm, allowing antibiotics to be more effective at wiping out the E. coli.

You can get cranberries in many different ways, but calories count:

  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh = 45 calories
  • 1/3 cup cranberries, dried = 123 calories
  • 1 cup cranberry Juice cocktail = 137 calories

The Rhode Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (RIAND) is a professional organization for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and Dietetic Technicians Registered. RIAND is committed to empowering RDNs through education and advocacy to serve their communities as nutrition experts. Dietitian Nutritionists are the most qualified medical professionals to provide you with nutrition information. If you are interested in finding a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist please visit www.eatrightri.org to find and RDN in your area.

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