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Berry juice may prevent urinary tract infections

March 17, 2003|Dianne Partie Lange

Drinking a glass of fresh berry juice every day may help women avoid urinary tract infections. A study of more than 200 Finnish women, mostly under 30, found that a glass of fresh fruit juice a day reduced the risk of infection by about a third, and that berry juice cut the odds even more. Yogurt or sour milk also helped prevent infection.

Most berries contain flavonols called proanthocyanidines, which prevent bacteria found in stool from adhering to human cells. Apples, cherries and plums also contain these flavonols, but berries are the best source. Fermented milk products are helpful because their bacteria form colonies in the intestine, displacing the germs that can cause infections in the urinary tract.

The study is the first to show the benefit of a variety of juices, including raspberry, currant, cranberry and lingonberry, says lead author Dr. Tero Kontiokari, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Oulu.

Based on this study, Dr. Donna Shoupe, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, says, "I'm going to start recommending fruit juices, especially to women who have recurrent problems."

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