They may be small, but don’t let this little red berry fool you – it is a giant when it comes to improving your health and your skin.
As one of the few fruits actually native to America and well as in Nordic countries, cranberries are packed full of antioxidants. Cranberry seed oil’s skin nourishing properties might be unknown to you, but it all begins at the source: the tiny cranberry itself.
Cranberries are full of beneficial compounds, which can be found in arctic cranberry seed oil itself. This natural oil, as an ingredient in skin care, may help skin look refreshed and revitalized. If you’re dealing with a dull complexion, consider the cranberry as a way to improve it!
What Makes Arctic Cranberry Seed Oil Different?
Cranberries probably only appear in your diet during the holidays, right? The healing potential of cranberries has been around for centuries – the berries have been used as a remedy for colds, digestive issues, and urinary problems for centuries.1
The cranberry, a perennial evergreen shrub, has horizontal stems that can reach up to two meters long. With pink and white flowers, they’re mostly seen blooming during the hotter months of June and July.2
But what makes cranberry seed oil worth paying attention to?
The polyphenols, of course!
Cranberries—filled with different kinds of polyphenols— are antioxidants that promote cell health within the body. Anthocyanins, flavonols, proanthocyanidins, organic acids, and carbohydrates are just a few of the beneficial components of cranberries.3
These components are translated into helpful agents for the body as cranberries are cold-pressed into oil while maintaining the same antioxidant powers (just in oil form).4 Cold pressing is simply a method of drawing the oils from the berries; it requires no additional heat or chemical additives.
So what does that mean for the skin?
Each of the different kinds of polyphenols found in cranberries is responsible for its own, potent fight against the signs of again. And each polyphenol has its own subcategory, including anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins.
The different polyphenols benefit our skin in different ways:
Catechins, a kind of flavonol, are believed to help fight signs of aging in the skin, like wrinkles and sagging, by preventing cell stress and death. The have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, suggesting that they’re a key element in preventing skin aging.5
The proanthocyanidins found in arctic cranberries may help protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. It’s known that sun damage is suggested to be a huge factor in skin aging, since it’s believed to be a factor that contributes to wrinkles, sagging, and dark spots.6
Other flavonols found in arctic cranberries, including quercetin and myricetin, are antioxidants believed to help protect the skin as well.7,8 Quercetin, with its anti-inflammatory properties, has been used to soothe irritated skin. In combination with other compounds, it’s thought to be useful in helping to reduce signs of inflammation without irritating skin further.9
Myricetin has been linked to benefits for the skin by hydrating skin cells and stopping cell death within the skin. It’s believed to specifically combat UVB ray damage that can lead to serious skin health issues. Because it could possibly keep skin smooth and firm, myricetin is thought to be a potent ingredient in anti-aging skin care.10
Latest Studies and What They Mean for Arctic Cranberry Seed Oil
Polyphenols have been linked to significant skin health issues that could speak to the bigger picture of the power of antioxidants. The same proanthocyanidins found in cranberries have been suggested to fight viral skin infections, for example.11
Arctic cranberry extract itself has been recently considered as a new source for antiviral microbicides and its use as an antiviral agent. By preventing antiviral cells from absorbing into the skin, arctic cranberry extract is believed to be a strong candidate for preventing viral activity within the skin, even as it was tested by different pH levels and proteins.12
Arctic cranberry seed oil is a powerful source of skin-nourishing polyphenols, and recent studies support its many benefits, including anti-aging. That’s why we’ve included it as a key ingredient in our Gundry MD Polyphenol Firm + Sculpt skincare formula.
But cranberries are more than just a potent anti-aging secret.
Here are some other ways in which cranberries help your body:
Urinary Tract Infections
You’ve probably heard that cranberries can be great for urinary tract infections (UTIs), but is it just an old wives tale? Well, there’s actually some substance to it. Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins, a compound that prevents bacteria from binding to the bladder wall, therefore reducing the likelihood of infection. A study of 160 patients undergoing elective gynecological surgery where, on average, up to 64% of women develop a UTI after the catheter is removed, showed that cranberry capsules lowered the risk of getting a UTI by 50%.
Study participants were given two cranberry capsules, twice daily, for 6 weeks after surgery, though researchers believe that to gain full preventative protection, people would need to consume a substantial amount of cranberry. 13
Cranberry seed oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids, and these “good” fats promote heart health. They can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and they contain salicylic acid that helps to prevent clotting. Omega-3 fatty acids also promote healthy brain function and youthful-looking, healthy skin, and may also help soothe irritation found in conditions like arthritis.
Because your body can’t make its own omega-3s, we need to find them in our diets.
Cranberries also contain a compound called phytosterols, which are like structural dopplegangers to your body’s cholesterol. Because of this, they compete with cholesterol for absorption – and can actually block cholesterol from being absorbed, hence lowering cholesterol levels.
Phytosterols are also super smart, as they can reduce this bad LDL cholesterol without affecting the good HDL cholesterol. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that people who have high cholesterol consume 2 grams of phytosterols every day. 14
The Immune System
Cranberries are packed with that ol’ immune system hero, vitamin C, one of the highest antioxidant vitamins around. Several cells of the immune system need vitamin C to perform their duties, and so a vitamin C deficiency can result in poor immunity – and a reduced resistance to bacteria. There is much debate over whether vitamin C can alleviate the common cold, but one thing’s for sure, it certainly appears that it may help reduce the duration of colds. 15
Recent discoveries have shown that compounds in cranberries could also help protect the gut microbiota, providing anti-inflammatory benefits that could aid in immune function. Gut flora is a hot topic, as scientists continue to unveil how much of an effect our gut flora actually has on overall health. Evidence has linked the health of the gut microbiome to the immune system, obesity, and even mental health. 16
The potent color of cranberries may have you worried about staining your white smile, however the proanthocyanidins, found in cranberries, can actually inhibit bacterial growth in your mouth. This results in decreased plaque and prevents tooth decay by preventing cavities. The same polyphenols in cranberries that help fight anti-aging can also interfere with such activities as biofilm adhesion, where bacteria forms a film on your teeth.
Make sure that you consume cranberries in moderation however, as cranberries, like all fruits, are high in natural sugars (they are “nature’s candy!”), and too much sugar is not only bad for your health but also for your teeth. 17
Cranberries may also combat bad breath in the same way that tea can. Those same polyphenols help prevent sulfur-producing bacteria from hanging around inside your mouth – and contributing to bad breath.
Some years ago scientists discovered that a bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori is actually the cause of peptic ulcers, and not “stress,” as some would have you think. The bacteria is exceptionally common and can cause a variety of potentially serious digestive issues.
A study focussing on H. pylori infection determined that cranberries can be effective in suppressing the bacteria. During the study, 189 patients were assigned a cranberry supplement or a placebo. After 90 days, researchers concluded that 14 of the 97 subjects in the cranberry treatment group yielded negative test results for H.Pylori, which was considered significant. 18
Cranberries contain quinic acid which can help prevent kidney stones by breaking down calcium and helping to prevent substances from binding together and forming stones.
A study in South Africa found that the ingestion of cranberries significantly resulted in a decrease in oxalate and phosphate excretion (which causes kidney stones) and an increase in citrate excretion. 19 Citrate, derived from citric acid, helps to prevent kidney stone formation. Citric acid has also shown to be helpful in dissolving and passing kidney stones.
Struvite stones (non-calcium stones), are usually caused by a urinary tract infection, as they only form in infected urine and, as we’ve discussed, cranberries have some success in helping to prevent urinary tract infections. However, If your kidney stones are the result of uric acid, you should probably avoid cranberries, as they can actually contribute to the formation of these stones.
We all know that the harsh chemicals we use for bleaching and coloring our hair are not good for our health, but we continue to do it anyway, because … beauty reigns supreme. But what if you could color your hair with the natural pigments of cranberries, instead of all those potentially harmful chemicals? The quaint little rouge berry can effectively be used to add a natural red tint to your hair. It won’t damage hair, it’s cheap, and you can do it yourself at home!
Thoroughly wash and dry your hair before you get started. Pour a cup of pure cranberry juice over your hair and work it through the strands. Blow dry your hair on a low setting until hair is dry, then rinse the cranberry juice out using warm water.
There are so many wonderful seed oils that have arrived on the beauty scene of late – pomegranate seed oil, black seed oil, carrot seed oil, meadowfoam seed, strawberry seed oil, and pumpkin seed oil – and each has its own powerful benefits. But perhaps none so much as the bright, cheery cranberry.
The cranberry also has the potential to affect everything from our heart to our brain – and everything in between! When it comes to our largest organ, the skin, it’s the first line of defense against our environment, so why wouldn’t we take some time to protect it too?
Each part of the cranberry, from its seeds to its juice, is packed with miraculous compounds that work to keep us healthy both inside and out.
You don’t have to wait until the festive season to embrace this little berry. Though they’re seasonal, you can still reap the benefits of cranberries through the many supplements and cold pressed oils available on the market. When it comes to eating the berries, it is always best to eat them in-season.
Our skin is the first line of defense against our environment, so why wouldn’t we take some time to protect it? With catechin, quercetin, and myricetin – all polyphenols found in cranberries – there’s no doubt that cranberry seed oil can benefit the skin.
Article updated on August 16th, 2017
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4. Yu L. Antioxidant properties of cold-pressed black caraway, carrot, cranberry, and hemp seed oils. Sciencedirectcom. 2005. Accessed January 4, 2017.
5. Tanigawa T, Kanazawa S, Ichibori R et al. (+)-Catechin protects dermal fibroblasts against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. 2014.
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