Cranberry juice can help ward off urinary tract infections - it interferes with E. coli bacteria, the bug commonly responsible, by preventing it from adhering to bladder walls. Now, new research suggests that the juice can also block Staphylococcus aureus infections. These bacteria can cause everything from minor skin problems to serious bloodstream infections. One strain is responsible for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, an infection that most antibiotics can’t cure. Researchers at the Worchester Polytechnic Institute recently reported that cranberry juice reduced the ability of S. aureus to cause infections. Their study involved healthy female students who drank either a cranberry juice cocktail or a placebo beverage that tasted like cranberry juice. The participants then provided urine samples that the researchers incubated in the lab with several strains of E. coli and one strain of S. aureus. The investigators found that urine samples from the young women who had consumed cranberry juice significantly reduced the ability of both types of bacteria to adhere to cell walls and then form biofilms, a prelude to infection. This was surprising, researchers said, because staph aureus "is usually very good at forming biofilms - that's what makes it such a health problem." Now researchers have to investigate how this new knowledge can be applied.
Try cranberry juice in a healthy holiday drink this season.