American cranberries and health benefits - an evolving story of 25 years

J Sci Food Agric. 2020 Nov;100(14):5111-5116. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.8882. Epub 2018 Feb 20.


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. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: catechin; cranberries; health; procyanidin; urinary tract infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / metabolism
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • United States
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon / chemistry*
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon / metabolism*


  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts