This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ocean Spray® #DrinkToDefend
When I hear the word cranberry, so many vivid images come to mind: the beauty of the holidays, garnets, frost and pine needles, summer cocktails, elaborate gowns, luscious lips, and I could go on. The color of the cranberry is beautiful and intriguing! In nature, there’s a reason for that. Just as a male peacock draws his feathers to attract a female, the cranberry color exists to attract you. Nature has a message for you! The beautiful, round, plump cranberry has incredible health benefits. This week is especially important to recognize the health benefits of cranberries because November 14 – 20 is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week. Are you wondering what the connection is between antibiotics and cranberries? I hope so! Let’s explore this because cranberries are extremely powerful and something you need to incorporate into your diet.
Before we dive into facts about cranberries, I have some frightening statistics to share. People are dying as a result of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria stop responding to the drugs designed to kill them. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), each year more than 2 million people in the United States get infections from germs that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 die as a result. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) established Get Smart About Antibiotics Week to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use. It’s not just raising awareness with the public. The annual campaign seeks to raise awareness amongst all stakeholders including health organizations, doctors, hospitals, non-profits, media personnel, and the veterinary community.
This really hits home for me because in 2004, I contracted a skin infection that was resistant to antibiotics. I suffered from extremely painful reoccurring infections for nearly two years. It was the most terrifying and depressing period of my life. Even under the care of an infectious disease specialist, it took combinations of some of the newest, most expensive, and potent antibiotics to finally kill the bacteria that had colonized on my skin. From personal experience, I can tell you antibiotic resistance is scary and real. This is likely the single most important infectious disease we face today. If something doesn’t change the way antibiotics are prescribed and used, simple infections could kill people just as they did a century ago.
Frightening statistics about antibiotic resistance
The second most common infection treated with antibiotics are Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). According to the American Urological Association, it is estimated that 150 million UTIs occur annually world-wide. This accounts for, make sure you are sitting down, $6 billion in health care expenditures. Take a moment to quantify those numbers! Approximately 60 perfect of women will experience one UTI in their lifetime and one in four will suffer a recurrence within six months. The World Health Organization states there is a 50 percent resistance rate to one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics to treat UTIs.
How can cranberries help?
Research shows that consuming 8 ounces (240 mL) of cranberry juice a day can be a nutritional alternative to daily low-dose antibiotics to reduce symptomatic UTIs. This may be a highly effective strategy to decrease worldwide use of antibiotics. Remember, 150 million UTIs occur each year. Consuming cranberry juice daily to help prevent infections is not a trivial suggestion.
More than 50 years of research points to the cranberry’s unique ability to block bacteria that cause UTIs. It’s important to note this should be something you incorporate into our diet daily to avoid the infection. Once you have an infection, the cranberry juice will not cure it. For women who suffer from recurrent symptomatic UTIs (more than two per year), consumption of cranberry juice daily may lead to reduced trips to their doctor, reduced lab costs, and a reduction in the use of antibiotics.
Not only does cranberry juice fight off the bacteria that causes UTIs, it also helps to fight the bacteria in your stomach that leads to ulcers. The proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries that provide an antibacterial effect in other parts of the body may help suppress cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth as well. There may be a day in the future when toothpastes with cranberry components are used to protect your teeth!
What does celebrity Dr. Jennifer Berman have to say?
Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Jennifer Berman from the Emmy® award-winning talk show, The Doctors. I asked her some questions about antibiotic resistance and the consumption of cranberry juice. This was a one-on-one discussion and I asked questions that I thought you would be most interested in hearing the responses to. Dr. Berman stresses the importance of questioning doctors and reminds us that how we look on the outside is a reflection of how we care for our body on the inside. She encourages her patients to visit CranberryHealth.com to get more information about the benefits of consuming cranberry juice daily.
Q: Why are UTIs so relevant when it comes to antibiotic resistance?
Dr Berman: For one, UTIs are extremely common and 60% of women will experience at least one in their life and require antibiotics. The frequency of antibiotics prescribed is leading to resistance. Health care providers must limit their use. The elderly and pediatric patients are at especially at high risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria infections.
Q: Do you think doctors need to play a more proactive role in conveying how to proactively manage getting infections?
Dr Berman: Doctors and consumers need to increase their awareness. Women need to know what UTIs are and how to prevent them. Prevention is key to maintaining health. Drinking cranberry juice has preventative benefits but the juice needs to be consumed before symptoms of an infection occur. It is a preventative measure women need to take.
Q: Is drinking cranberry juice more effective than taking oral supplements?
Dr Berman: No one can say for sure but the pills are in a purified form. They go through the digestive tract and get broken down so the effective ingredients are not necessarily getting into your body. The research data available supports the juice as more effective at getting PACs into your body. The PACs prevent bacteria from sticking and multiplying in your body, which leads to improved urinary tract health
Q: With health premiums through the roof and high deductibles, many people can’t afford to go the doctor. They obtain drugs across the border where they can be purchased at a low cost and over the counter. How can this be controlled?
Dr Berman: It is a problem that medical cabinets are stocked full and people self prescribe. Doctors also over prescribe for a condition they think you have. Responsibility is key here and drinking cranberry juice is a healthy alternative. People need to manage their wellness through diet, exercise and minimizing stress, processed foods, and alcohol.
A few additional thoughts
If you don’t enjoy the flavor of cranberry juice, consider all the fabulous recipes available that incorporate it into different foods and drinks. Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail is really a refreshing drink. Even my youngest son enjoys drinking it. Sometimes, I add sparkling water to my cranberry juice and fresh herbs. I also blend it with yogurt, ice, and other favorite fruits to make morning smoothies. The options are endless. For lots of wonderful recipes and a variety of ways to incorporate cranberry juice in your diet, visit the Ocean Spray® website. They have 5 star rated recipes using cranberry juice in delicious cocktails, smoothies and other refreshing drinks. It’s easier to introduce this into your diet than you think, if you haven’t already! #DrinktoDefend
Let’s work together to keep each other healthy and take care of our bodies! Visit the Cranberry Health website to learn more about antibiotic resistance and the health benefits of cranberries. Do you have a special recipe that you would like to share that includes cranberry juice? I would love to hear about it!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ocean Spray®. The opinions and text are all mine.