American Cranberries and Health Benefits - An Evolving Story of 25 Years.
Cranberries contain various types of bioactive components. Scientists have been studying cranberries' beneficial effects on urinary tract health since the 20th century. In the 21st century, the protection provided by cranberry phytochemicals against cancer and vascular diseases has drawn more attention from researchers. Anthocyanins, procyanidins, and flavonols in cranberries were all documented to have potential effects on cancer prevention. The cardiometabolic effects of cranberries have been investigated in several clinical trials. It was found that cranberries positively affect atherosclerotic cholesterol profiles and that they reduced several cardiometabolic risk factors. Nowadays, growing evidence suggests other important roles of cranberries in maintaining digestive health. Cranberry juice or cranberries have been shown to inhibit the colonization of H. pylori in stomach, and protect against intestinal inflammation. For future research, clinical trials with improved study design are urgently needed to demonstrate cranberries' benefits on urinary tract health and cardiometabolic diseases. Hypothesis-driven studies using animals or cell culture are needed to elucidate the mechanisms of cranberries' effects on digestive health.