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Cranberry and Blueberry

Extracts offer potent benefits

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Cranberry and Blueberry

While eating berries is an excellent way to maintain good health, there is considerable scientific evidence that taking concentrated berry extracts can be a useful natural treatment for a variety of health conditions. Two berries stand above all others for medicinal use: cranberries and blueberries.

Berries–not only are they delicious, but they are also among the most important foods for good health. The diverse health benefits of berries are primarily due to their high content of specialized pigments known as flavonoids.

While eating berries is an excellent way to maintain good health, there is considerable scientific evidence that taking concentrated berry extracts can be a useful natural treatment for a variety of health conditions. Two berries stand above all others for medicinal use: cranberries and blueberries.

Cranberry Extracts: Beyond UTIs

Most women who have ever experienced a bladder infection know about cranberry. Keen to avoid the excruciating pain and urinary discomfort, they reach for cranberry at the first sign of a bladder infection.

Cranberries, as well as blueberries, block infectious bacteria from clinging to the cells lining the urinary tract and bladder. E. coli bacteria, normally existing in the gut, creep into the urinary tract where, using tiny hairlike appendages, they anchor themselves to bladder cells and spread infection.

The cranberry compound cripples the “landing gear” of the bacteria, so they are washed away in the urine. Numerous clinical studies have documented the effectiveness of cranberry extracts in preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs), but they have also been shown to protect arteries from being damaged, thereby protecting against heart disease, and to decrease the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

To avoid the sugar in many cranberry juices, look for highly concentrated cranberry extracts. The typical adult dosage of a 36:1 cranberry extract for treatment of a bladder infection is 500 mg, three times per day. The dosage for prevention is 500 mg once or twice daily.

Blueberry Concentrate: Harnessing the Power of Anthocyanins

Since the Middle Ages, blueberries and their cousins, bilberries, have been renowned for their health benefits, particularly in helping to improve visual acuity. During WWII fighter pilots ate toast laden with bilberry jam just before flying to improve their night vision. Recently, science has discovered more reasons to include blueberries as a staple in our diet.

Research shows that blueberries, due to a type of flavonoid group known as anthocyanins–the phytochemicals responsible for their deep blue colour, help vision and eye health. They can also slow aging, help cognitive decline, lower cholesterol, fight cancer, and help inhibit urinary tract infections.

While blueberries are an excellent food, a blueberry concentrate with all the anthocyanin power of fresh blueberries is a convenient way to gain all the health benefits. Two 500-mg capsules of a 36:1 blueberry concentrate is equivalent to one-quarter cup of fresh blueberries. For general health, take two capsules daily. For specific support, such as use in improving night vision, take three capsules twice daily.

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