Skip to Content

Can you drink a glass of cranberry juice everyday?

Quick Answer: Benefits and Risks

Drinking a glass of cranberry juice every day can have some health benefits, but there are also some risks to consider. Cranberry juice contains antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds that may help prevent urinary tract infections, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure. However, cranberry juice is high in natural sugar, so drinking too much can lead to excess calories and weight gain. It’s also high in oxalates, which some people need to limit. Moderation is key – 1 glass (8 ounces) of cranberry juice per day as part of a healthy diet is considered safe for most people. Those with certain medical conditions, like diabetes or kidney stones, should talk to their doctor first.

What are the potential benefits of drinking cranberry juice everyday?

Here are some of the key potential benefits of drinking a glass of cranberry juice daily:

May Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Cranberry juice contains proanthocyanidins and other compounds that may prevent E. coli bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. This anti-adhesion effect may help prevent or treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) (1). Studies show drinking cranberry juice regularly may reduce the recurrence of UTIs, especially in women who are prone to getting them (2, 3).

Contains Antioxidants

Like other fruit juices, cranberry juice contains antioxidants including anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and vitamin C (4). These compounds help neutralize harmful free radicals and may have anti-aging effects on cells. Antioxidants in cranberry juice could potentially help reduce inflammation and lower risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, although more research is needed.

May Lower Blood Pressure

Some research shows that drinking cranberry juice may modestly reduce blood pressure levels. In one study, drinking 240 ml of cranberry juice daily for 8 weeks reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in women with risk factors for heart disease (5). The effect may be attributed to the juice’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Contains Vitamin C

One glass of cranberry juice provides about 25% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C (4). Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and is vital for immune function and collagen production. Getting enough vitamin C also helps with iron absorption.

Lowers Cholesterol

A few studies have found that consuming cranberry juice can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol (6). This effect may be due to the presence of polyphenols, which are compounds with antioxidant properties. The lowering of LDL along with raising HDL may lead to a reduced risk of heart disease.

What are the potential risks or downsides of drinking cranberry juice everyday?

Despite the benefits, drinking cranberry juice daily does come with some potential risks and downsides to consider:

High in Sugar

Cranberry juice is relatively high in sugar compared to other fruit juices. An 8-ounce glass contains about 24 grams of sugar (4). The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to no more than 25 grams per day for women and 36 grams for men (7). Drinking cranberry juice in excess could easily surpass those limits. Too much added sugar in the diet has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more. Those limiting sugar or carbs may want to avoid drinking cranberry juice daily.

May Contain Added Sugar

Many store-bought cranberry juice blends contain added sugar. Read the ingredient lists and nutrition facts labels carefully. Added sugar provides empty calories without nutrition. Focus on choosing 100% cranberry juices with no added sweeteners. Even better are low-sugar cranberry juice blends, diluted with water to reduce the sugar content.

Can Interact with Medications

Cranberry juice contains salicylic acid, which can increase the effects of blood thinning medications like warfarin. People taking blood thinners should consult their doctor before drinking cranberry juice regularly (8). Cranberry juice may also interfere with antibiotics or diabetes medications.

Not Recommended for Those with Kidney Stones

Cranberry juice contains oxalate, a compound that can contribute to kidney stone formation in those susceptible. People with a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones should limit high-oxalate foods and beverages, including cranberry juice (9).

May Cause GI Upset

Cranberry juice contains fructose, a natural sugar that some people don’t digest well. Drinking juice on an empty stomach or in large amounts may result in gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Start with a small 4-6 ounce serving with a meal and see how your body responds.

Who should avoid drinking cranberry juice everyday or limit intake?

Here are some groups of people who should avoid drinking cranberry juice daily or limit their intake:

Individuals Monitoring Sugar Intake

Because cranberry juice is high in natural sugars, it’s not recommended for people limiting sugar and carbohydrates. This includes those with diabetes, pre-diabetes, obesity, or metabolic syndrome. The high sugar content can spike blood sugars. Even unsweetened varieties contain fructose.

Those Prone to Kidney Stones

People who frequently develop calcium oxalate kidney stones should limit high-oxalate foods like cranberry juice. The oxalates found in cranberry juice could increase kidney stone risk in susceptible individuals.

People on Blood Thinners

Cranberry juice may intensify the effects of warfarin and other blood thinning medications. People on these types of medications should consult their doctor about potential cranberry juice interactions. Dosing of medications may need to be adjusted.

Those with Salicylate Sensitivity

Cranberry juice contains trace amounts of salicylates, compounds related to aspirin. People with asthma, ulcers, or salicylate sensitivity may want to avoid drinking cranberry juice regularly. Salicylates may exacerbate symptoms in sensitive individuals.

Children Under Age 12

Children under age 12 should not drink cranberry juice daily. The high oxalate content found in cranberry juice could impair kidney function and hinder development in young children. An occasional small glass diluted with water is likely safe. But consult your pediatrician for guidance.

Is store-bought or homemade cranberry juice better?

Both store-bought and homemade cranberry juice have pros and cons:

Store-bought juice

  • Pros: Convenient, shelf-stable, and always available year-round
  • Cons: Often high in added sugar, lower in nutrients due to processing

Homemade juice

  • Pros: Pure cranberry taste, control over ingredients/sweetness, higher nutrition content
  • Cons: More labor intensive, fresh cranberries only available seasonally

When buying store-bought cranberry juice, read labels carefully and select 100% juice varieties with no added sugars or sweeteners. For homemade juice, blend fresh or frozen cranberries with water and optionally add a natural sweetener like honey or stevia to taste. Homemade allows control over sugar content. Overall, unsweetened varieties are healthiest, whether store-bought or homemade.

How much cranberry juice should you drink per day?

Most nutrition experts recommend limiting cranberry juice intake to 1 glass or about 8 ounces per day for most healthy adults. Here are some general cranberry juice intake guidelines:

  • Children under 12: Avoid daily intake, occasional 1-2 oz diluted juice allowed
  • Women: Up to 8 oz per day
  • Men: Up to 8-12 oz per day
  • Pregnant/nursing women: Up to 8 oz per day
  • Diabetics: 4-6 oz with meal, avoid juice blends with added sugars

Drinking more than 12-16 ounces per day is not recommended, as the calories and sugar can add up quickly. For therapeutic uses, up to 16 ounces may be safe for short periods under medical supervision. But prolonged intake above 16 ounces daily could have negative effects. It’s best to stick to an 8 ounce serving to get benefits without overdoing it.

Tips for drinking cranberry juice

Here are some tips for incorporating cranberry juice into your diet:

  • Stick to 4-8 oz serving sizes diluted with water if needed
  • Choose 100% cranberry juices with no added sugar
  • Consume with meals to reduce blood sugar spikes
  • Rinse mouth after drinking due to acidity
  • Drink through a straw to minimize tooth exposure
  • Wait at least 2 hours before brushing teeth (to avoid softened enamel)
  • Mix with seltzer water or club soda to reduce sugar and calories
  • Blend with other fruit juices like apple or peach juice
  • Combine with lemon, mint, or cucumber for infused detox water

The bottom line

Drinking a glass of cranberry juice daily can provide benefits, especially for urinary tract health. However, the high sugar content means intake should be limited to 8 ounces per day. People with certain medical conditions like diabetes or kidney stones may want to avoid cranberry juice altogether. Moderation is key, along with choosing unsweetened 100% cranberry juice varieties. Diluting the juice with water or seltzer is a healthy way to reap benefits while limiting sugar and calories. Those on medications or with specific medical conditions should consult a doctor before drinking cranberry juice regularly. Overall, a small glass of unsweetened cranberry juice consumed with meals is safe for most healthy adults as part of a balanced diet.