You may have heard that cranberries are good for you, especially for preventing urinary tract infections (UTI’s). However, the World’s Healthiest Foods presents research about the many more positive health benefits of this fruit.

The most commonly commercially sold type of cranberry originally came from the Americas. Though used by Native Americans, mass production began in 1840 by Henry Hall. The fruit then spread west across the U.S. and over the Atlantic Ocean to Great Britain and Scandinavia.

Cranberries help prevent UTI’s.

The World’s Healthiest Foods notes that originally this was thought to be due to the fruit’s acidity. Researchers now know that this quality is due to proanthocyanidin or PAC. This prevents bacteria such as E.coli to grip the lining of the urinary tract, causing an infection.

Another health benefit of cranberries? They contain phytonutrients.

Not only is this the source of the cranberry’s red color, it also contains antioxidants. They help fight inflammation. Cranberries are water-harvested. They float on the surface of the water, where they get more sun exposure. This, in turn, creates more phytonutrients.

Eating cranberries also helps lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and raise HDL levels (the good kind).

They also can lower blood pressure. They have properties that support the immune system, maintain the health of the digestive tract, and fight cancer.

The World’s Healthiest Foods recommends rinsing cranberries before consuming, and to eat them fresh in order to get the maximum health benefits. Cooking only destroys the nutrients in the fruit.

An important safety note: Drinking cranberry juice may interfere with the drug Warfarin. This is used as an anticoagulant drug to prevent blood clots from forming. Drinking cranberry juice while using Warfarin may interfere with the drug’s ability to prevent clotting.

Want to learn more about cranberries? Read the full article here: Cranberries.