Cranberry juice is often said to be a home remedy for UTIs (urinary tract infections), but is it truly beneficial for adults and the elderly? In this article, we address if cranberry juice can help prevent a UTI, if it helps to manage UTI symptoms and some benefits for the elderly.
If you are concerned you have a UTI, you can find more information in our article on UTI and its symptoms.
Does cranberry juice prevent urinary tract infections?
It is commonly believed that cranberries and cranberry juice can prevent UTIs but is this accurate? It is worth noting that there are only limited studies on this. Still, from the small research sample available, it would appear that, in some women at risk of developing these infections, drinking cranberry juiceor taking cranberry pills may decrease your chance of getting a urinary tract infection.5
It is believed that cranberries make your urine more acidic, thus killing the bacteria that cause UTIs, and that it prevents bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract.6 If you are interested in trying it, drink pure, unsweetened cranberry juice rather than cranberry juice drink because cranberry juice drink is not shown to benefit UTI prevention.7
Is cranberry juice good for managing UTI symptoms?
Additionally, cranberry juice is often claimed to be good for improving urinary tract infection symptoms. While some data shows that cranberry juice might decrease symptomatic UTIs, it is very limited and cannot be deemed conclusive.8 Nonetheless, it contains antioxidants that are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory,9 which could help. However, we would caveat this with two words of warning:
- Cranberry juice is widely available as a juice drink, which contains sugars and sweeteners. Sugar can aggravate UTI symptoms, so it is best avoided.10
- Cranberry juice is also acidic. While acidic foods are shown to prevent UTIs, they can make symptoms worse if you already have an infection and are best avoided11
If you or someone you know are experiencing leaks as part of an infection, we recommend using continence products. iD has a large range of dermatologically tested, discreet and comfortable solutions to suit every individual’s needs.
Cranberry juice and the elderly
Many wonder, ‘Is cranberry juice good for UTIs in the elderly?’. While cranberry juice’s effectiveness on urinary tract infections is debatable, it does have some benefits on the elderly’s general health. Cranberries are full of antioxidants, which have long been established as fighting the ageing process.12 They can help with the following issues, common in older people:
- heart issues, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- boosting bone health, as they are high in calcium
- improving immunity due to their high levels of Vitamin C
- decreasing the degeneration of brain cells, skin cells and organic tissue
- preventing kidney stones because of their acidic nature
Other beneficial food and drink for UTIs
There are also many other foods and drinks that can be beneficial for bladder issues. Some bladder friendly foods you could try are:
- chamomile and peppermint teas13
To sum up, our advice would be to drink cranberry juice for UTI prevention, but it may be better avoiding during an active infection. However, it’s incredibly healthy, particularly for the elderly, so it may be worth introducing into your diet!
1 “Urinary tract infections (UTIs)”, NHS, 18 November 2020, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-tract-infections-utis/
3 “Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Older Adults”, Shilpa Amin, 8 January 2021, Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/uti-in-elderly
4 “Urinary tract infections (UTIs)”, NHS, 18 November 2020, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-tract-infections-utis/
5 “Are Cranberries Good for UTI Prevention?”, Minesh Khatri, 18 March 2021, Source: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/cranberries-for-uti-protection
7 “Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infections”, Healthwise Staff, 29 June 2020, Source: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw55783
8 “Cranberry Juice Can Cure My UTI and Four Other Myths Debunked”, Penn Medicine, 9 July 2018, Source: https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/womens-health/2018/july/can-cranberry-juice-cure-my-urinary-tract-infection
9 “Seven ways to treat UTI without antibiotics”, Debra Rose Wilson, 11 January 2020, Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322411
10 “What to Eat (and Avoid) During a UTI”, Dr Nick Rosen, 1 February 2021, Source: https://www.dispatchhealth.com/blog/what-to-eat-and-avoid-during-uti/
11 “What to eat (and what to avoid) during a UTI”, Edward-Elmhurst Health, 13 May 2019, Source: https://www.eehealth.org/blog/2019/05/what-to-eat-during-a-uti/
12 “Top 10 Health Benefits of Cranberry Juice”, Helen Sanders, 19 March 2019, Source: https://seniorslifestylemag.com/health-well-being/top-10-health-benefits-of-cranberry-juice/
13 “Sooth bladder pain with these foods”, Urology Specialists of Georgia, n.d., Source: https://www.usofga.com/general/soothe-bladder-pain/