When you think of cranberry juice, you think… cocktail mixer? Maybe what you’ve heard can help treat a UTI? You’d be right on both counts, but the fruit juice has a lot more to offer.

“Cranberry juice is high in vitamins C, E, and quercetin, phytochemicals that have antioxidant effects,” says Bianca Tamburello, RDN at FRESH Communications. “Powerful antioxidants protect the body from harmful substances that contribute to aging and are linked to chronic diseases.”

Meet the experts: Bianca Tamburello is a RDN at FRESH Communications.

Crystal Scott, MS, is an RD/LD with Top Nutrition Coaching.

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Keep reading to find out alllll the health benefits of this juicy fruit, how much you might want to drink daily, and more.

Is it good to drink cranberry juice every day?

Sipping it on the regular can be good for you, but moderation is key. “For most people, I recommend no more than one cup of unsweetened pure cranberry juice per day,” Tamburello says. (FYI: Even though you buy the kind with no added sugars, the fruit does contain natural sugars to be mindful of.)

And when it comes to knowing what product to buy, opt for something that lists cranberry juice as the only, or at the very least, the main, ingredient. And look for labels that say ‘made with 100 percent juice’ or ‘sweetened with apple or orange juice.’ “Unsweetened pure cranberry juice is the best choice because it has no added sugar and less calories than sweetened and cocktail cranberry juice varieties,” Tamburello says.

What are the potential side effects of cranberry juice?

Drinking cranberry juice in moderation has little to no health risks for most people, says Tamburello. But she adds that drinking large quantities could cause unpleasant GI symptoms like upset stomach and diarrhea.

More research is needed but it’s thought that certain compounds in cranberry juice could interact with the blood thinning medication, warfarin. “Always speak with your doctor about potential medication interactions,” says Tamburello.

5 Health Benefits Of Cranberry Juice

1.Cranberries are rich in polyphenols.

Drinking cranberry juice is a common recommendation to protect against UTIs, mainly due to its plant compounds called polyphenols, says Tamburello. Research points to cranberries' ability to prevent the adherence of pathogenic bacteria in the urinary tract, and help lower inflammation.

However, Tamburello adds that research about the effectiveness of cranberry juice and UTI prevention is mixed, “but it seems that drinking cranberry juice is most effective in certain populations including women who frequently get UTIs and older adults in nursing homes.”

The same cranberry plant compounds that may prevent UTIs could also have benefits for oral health. Tamburello explains that those polyphenols may help decrease your risk of cavities by controlling mouth acid levels and protecting against gum decay. And research in the European Journal of Oral Sciences notes that polyphenols from dark-colored fruit berries, “could provide innovative bioactive molecules as natural weapons against dental caries.”

2. They also contain antioxidants.

    Cranberry juice may help prevent the growth of certain types of bacteria in the digestive tract, which can promote a healthy gut microbiome, says Crystal Scott, MS, RD/LD with Top Nutrition Coaching. This is in large part because the fruit is rich in antioxidants which are known to have anti-inflammatory effects that are beneficial for the whole body and long-term health, she adds. And cranberries have a good amount of fiber which promotes good gastrointestinal health.

    3. They’re a source of phenolic compounds.

      Cranberries are known to be a source of phenolic compounds, which have been shown to help inhibit the growth of cancerous cells in the body and, if cancer has already been diagnosed, helps stop its progression.

      4. They contain some magnesium.

        “Magnesium promotes healthy bones by increasing bone mineral density which may help reduce risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures,” says Tamburello. “Eating more high magnesium foods is a great way to protect your bones, especially for people at risk of low bone mass like older women.”

        5. They're vitamin C-rich.

        Research shows that low calorie cranberry juice can improve risk factors of cardiovascular disease, such as lowering blood pressure and glucose concentrations. That could be, in part, because cranberry juice is a good source of vitamin C.

        Some research suggests that supplementation of vitamin C can also lead to more restful, longer sleep.

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        Lauryn Higgins
        Freelance Writer

        Lauryn Higgins is a freelance journalist whose work focuses primarily on public health. Her work tracking the coronavirus for The New York Times was part of a team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. When she's not working she loves spending time in her kitchen and garden, taking barre classes and cuddling with the love of her life, her 90-pound bernedoodle, Gus. Her work has also appeared in NPR, Salon, Teen Vogue and Well + Good.