Jul 04, 2016

    Cranberries can foil urinary tract infections

    A GLASS of cranberry juice a day can help ward off urinary tract infection (UTI), the most common bacterial infection in humans.

    Researchers from Boston University and Biofortis Innovation Services found that consuming 240ml of cranberry juice daily reduces symptomatic UTI by nearly 40 per cent.

    This, in turn, reduces the need for antibiotics to treat the affected people.

    The findings, published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is the largest clinical trial of its kind that examined the effects of cranberry juice consumption on UTIs.

    It involved 373 women with an average age of 40.

    Urologist Sam Peh, who practises at Pan Asia Surgery Group which has several clinics here, told My Paper that the group is seeing more cases of the infection compared to five years ago.

    According to SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre, about half of all women will get UTI at least once in their lifetime.

    Also, antibiotic resistance is a growing health concern.

    "There is definitely a problem with antibiotic resistance in bacteria causing UTI in Singapore," said Dr Peh.

    He explained that, in the past, doctors could classify UTI cases into those acquired in hospital, which tend to have higher antibiotic resistance; and those infected in the community setting.

    "The division is now getting blurred," he noted.

    Dr Kalpana Gupta, who authored the study, believes cranberries can help to reduce the worldwide use of antibiotics.

    "The key to cranberry's benefit is consuming a glass daily to help avoid the infection altogether," said the infectious disease specialist in a statement.

    "Most people wait to drink cranberry juice until they have a UTI, but once the symptoms start, they'll likely need a course of antibiotics."

    In the study, 39 diagnoses of UTI were made among cranberry drinkers, compared to 67 in the non-drinking group.

    Nutritionist Grace Chong told My Paper that eating the whole fruit is the best option.

    But the concentrate juice is also beneficial, she said.

    The juicing process will not affect the loss of nutrients if manufacturers use proper advanced equipment, she added.

    Other benefits of the fruit include boosting the immune system and cancer prevention.

    "It is important to drink cranberry juice products which have a high quantity of real cranberries," said Ms Chong.