A healthy diet during pregnancy allows for the prevention of numerous health issues. The vitamins and minerals you get from foods work beneficially for the development of the fetus and the overall health condition of the mother-to-be. But aside from the standard set of vitamins, you receive from vegetables, fresh fruit, and berries, some products can provide you with extra health benefits. Cranberry juice is just like this.
Not only it is tasty but it also contains natural substances that can save a pregnant woman from developing some severe medical conditions. Whether you drink cranberry juice, eat dried cranberries or fresh berries, the benefits you get are indisputable.
Cranberries for the Urinary Tract
Urinary tract infection during pregnancy is quite common. Its prevalence in pregnant women approaches 18%. Another 13% of such infections go asymptomatically. So overall, it makes more than 30%.
Such infections are common during pregnancy due to the growing pressure of the uterus on the bladder. This interferes with the normal flow of the urine thus creating favorable conditions for the development of bacterial infections. The weakened immune system cannot withstand the growth of bacteria, letting them flourish.
Due to the presence of certain antioxidants, such food stops bacteria growth, reducing their amounts in the urine. Therefore, cranberry juice is highly efficacious for preventing UTIs and kidney infection. However, you cannot use this product to treat a UTI as it is not a medication.
Cranberry Juice for Oral Health
Consuming cranberry juice can also work beneficially for your oral health. The antioxidants fighting bacteria in the urinary tract also work well for preventing any type of bacterial infection in your mouth. Cranberries can protect you from
- the formation of cavities;
- gum disease;
- tooth decay;
- oral cancer.
Taking care of your oral health during pregnancy is very important as the high levels of estrogen and progesterone characteristic of this period negatively affect the health of your gums and teeth. Cranberry juice can help reduce significant damage to your oral health during pregnancy.
Cranberries for Heart
When a woman gets pregnant, the volume of blood circulating in her body significantly increases. Such a change leads to an increased load on the heart.The growing body mass only adds to the challenges your cardiovascular system meets during pregnancy.
Studies say that by drinking cranberry juice one can increase the levels of the so-called good cholesterol, which positively affects your heart health. Besides, antioxidants found in cranberry juice help the reduction of systolic blood pressure, thus protecting your heart.
Cranberry Juice Charge to Your Immunity
The immune system gets weaker in pregnancy. This natural mechanism is required to allow the growth of a new organism inside the female body. While the reduced activity of the immune system is needed for the fetus, expecting mothers become more prone to different types of infections, so supporting your immune health is vital.
Fresh cranberry juice is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which work to keep your immunity strong enough to withstand viruses and bacterial infections. Still, the power of cranberry is enough for prophylactic purposes only. Unfortunately, you cannot treat any type of infection with this berry juice.
Cranberry Juice for Gastro-Intestinal Tract
The prevalence of meat, dairy products, and sugar in your diet negatively affects the good bacteria normally living in your gut. Gradually such food preferences may cause the bad bacteria to replace those good ones you’ve lost. This leads to numerous gastrointestinal disorders.
Eating cranberries helps to normalize the microflora of your gut by halting the growth of the bad bacteria.
Vitamin and Mineral Supply
Cranberry in pregnancy can become a great source of vitamins and minerals every expecting mother needs so bad. Its mouthwateringly beautiful red berries contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K1, as well as manganese and copper.
Manganese participates in blood sugar control and is important for the absorption of calcium from foods. Copper helps the production of red blood cells, and vitamins work to protect you from free radicals, support your immunity, and other vital processes.
Are There any Risks of Drinking Cranberry Juice in Pregnancy?
While the benefits of cranberries for pregnant women are indisputable, excess of this product in your diet may also work negatively on your health.
The main hazard of cranberry juice is the sugar it contains. Cranberries themselves can taste sour or bitter. To make the juice tastier, the manufacturers add sugar or other juices so that it becomes sweeter. This can play a bad trick on pregnant women suffering from gestational diabetes, as they have to control the amounts of sugar they consume. So when buying cranberry juice next time, choose the unsweetened product.
It is a known fact that cranberry juice prevents the formation of kidney stones. However, only a few people know this is true for one type of kidney stones – brushite stones. As for uric acid and calcium oxalatestones, drinking cranberry juice increases the risks of their formation. To find the golden mean, you should consume cranberry juice in moderation.
Can I Take Cranberry Supplements Instead of Drinking Juice?
Unsweetened cranberry juice tastes rather specifically. Some pregnant women don’t like its taste and wonder if they can substitute it with cranberry supplements.
There is some evidence that proves that supplements can be as beneficial for your health as cranberry juice. Still, it’s not enough to claim they are totally safe. FDA does monitor the quality of such products, yet this kind of control is not enough to claim its 100% safety. So if choosing between capsules and juice, opt for the latter.
Cranberry Juice in Pregnancy – Final Words
Cranberries in any form are useful for the expecting mother’s health. Whether it is juice, fresh or dried berries, you’ll get your portion of benefits anyway.