The popularity of cranberry juice has been increasing in the last few years. It has been touted as a healthy drink, rebalancing body acidity and offering antibacterial effects. New data suggests cranberry juice has antiviral effects too. Could this keep you well as you up your winter mileage?

The evidence

A recent issue of the journal Phytomedicine features a piece of research using commercially available cranberry juice (Ocean Spray). This juice was shown to protect against two viruses known as bacteriophage T2 and bacteriophage T4. Antiviral activities were also shown for two other common viruses that usually plague us in the winter months.

Cranberry juice?s effects were found to be effective here, too, but were dose dependent. The researchers found that a 20 per cent suspension of cranberry juice was enough to stop the virus from binding to the surface of the cells but a more dilute suspension was not effective. Orange and grapefruit juices were tested too and were not shown to offer complete protection but reduced infectivity of two of the viruses by 35 per cent.

Layman lowdown

Cranberry has long been used as a drink to fight urinary tract infections and it seems it could have general benefits in terms of warding off viruses too.

CW says

Although this is the first piece of research to show these effects, a glass of cranberry juice (above 20 per cent concentration) could be a good addition to your recovery regime. It rebalances acidity in the body, so it is a healthy choice.