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The Almighty Cranberry

The weight loss, detox and disease prevention go-to.

As you may know, I’ve written over 30 books on a number of health topics including diet, detox, women’s health, and anti-parasite protocols since the late 1980s. But, I’m probably best known for “Fat Flush.” Introduced in my first book, Beyond Pritikin — The Fat Flush diet – has grown into a series of books and programs, including The Fat Flush Plan, Fat Flush for Life, and the Smoothie Shakedown.

Most importantly, my programs have helped – and continue to help – countless people reach their goal weight, detox their bodies, and feel healthy and vital.

From day one, a staple in all of my programs has been cran-water, also known to many as “Fat Flush Water.”

Why has the almighty cranberry remained my tried and true go-to for all of these years? Quite simply, because it’s a powerful, wonderful little berry.

Crazy for Cranberry

Cranberries have so many benefits, it’s truly hard to know where to start.

These ruby-red jewels are chock full of important antioxidants. They’re rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, and E as well as folic acid, boron, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and sulfur, all critical vitamins and minerals for liver acidity, as well as for many other bodily functions.

Among the most potent elements in cranberries are polyphenols, a kind of plant-based antioxidant that has powerful health-inducing effects. Laboratories have shown that 8 ounces of cranberry juice contain 567 milligrams of polyphenols—compared to .53 milligrams in apple juice and 400 milligrams in red wine. Just 2 ounces of fresh cranberries contain 373 milligrams of polyphenols, more than much larger servings of oranges, broccoli, blueberries, or strawberries.

These brilliant berries are also vital aids to liver detox because they contain exceedingly high levels of lifesaving antioxidants that provide crucial support during detox protocols.

Furthermore, their high content of organic acids – such as benzoic, malic, quinic, citric, and ellagic acids – have outstanding therapeutic qualities for many bodily functions.

Malic acid, for example, is a potent digestion regulator and helps protect against diarrhea, while ellagic acid has been proven to inhibit the initiation of cancer and reduce your likelihood of heart disease.

Cellulite Blaster

The weight loss benefits of cranberry come from its ability to kick the lymphatic system into gear.

Ideally, our lymph moves through a complex network of needle-thin tubes known as lymphatics, collecting excess fluid from cells all over the body. Different body parts produce different types of lymph: protein-rich fluid from the limbs; lymph full of white blood cells from the bone marrow, thymus, and spleen; and, more important for our purposes, high-fat lymph from our intestines.

Fat is the only food element that moves through the lymphatic system. The proteins and carbohydrates that we ingest go right from the intestines into the blood stream, but the intestinal lymphatics draw fat into the lymphatic system before it reaches the blood.

When the lymph isn’t flowing properly, excess fluid that isn’t draining from our tissues causes them to swell. These bloated, inflamed tissues can add up to 10 or 15 pounds to your weight, and cause you to swell two extra dress sizes.

Specifically talking cellulite, the proanthocyanidins in cranberry strengthen connective tissue by blocking the destructive activity of certain enzymes. They also protect blood vessel walls from damage by free radicals, thought to contribute to cellulite and varicose veins. In addition, they make your capillaries stronger and increase muscle tone in your veins, both of which may help prevent varicose veins.

Cranberries help defeat cellulite in another way, as well. Recent research has found that cellulite contains more water-attracting molecules than smooth skin, which may lead to increased water retention. The phytonutrients in unsweetened cranberry juice have been shown to reduce fluid buildup in tissues.

Cranberry has also been a superstar in gum disease prevention. Dental plaque is a breeding ground for bacteria and other micro-organisms that can serve as precursors to a wide range of diseases. Cranberry has proven helpful to help clear bacteria from the mouths of experimental subjects, preventing this gateway to other infections.

Drink Up

I recommend faithfully drinking 8 glasses of cran-water throughout each day. It’s also delicious to add cran-water to your smoothies.

To prepare, simply mix 1 ounce 100% unsweetened cranberry juice with 7 ounces of water. Multiply the recipe as needed to have enough for your 8 daily glasses easily on hand.

A different preparation option is to put 1 pound of organic fresh cranberries into a large saucepan with 5 cups of water. Boil until all the berries pop and then strain the juice into a container and dilute as above.

Cheers to decades of health (and slimming success) thanks to this Fat Flush staple!


Comments (48)

  • Cynthia VanVranken April 1, 2016 - 7:31 pm Reply

    Hi Cindy here , can inulin or erithritol be added for ease of drinking or a better taste ?

    • Mary April 2, 2016 - 6:17 am Reply

      Hi Cindy, Mary here! I understand your question and the intent behind it. Trying to make the best health decisions, you want to make sure an addition to a drink taken 8 times daily will not affect the intended health benefits. Great question. Seems most folks are in dire need of detoxing today and many unaware they are suffering. As I lift my cranberry water this morning…here’s to your health, Cindy!

  • Ann April 2, 2016 - 12:13 am Reply

    Hey Cynthia V. ,I am standing with you. I am sorry you have to see these insensitive and cruel comments. Seems like some people just like to release their venom. I bet you’re a wonderful,
    bright person who often asks good questions – don’t let them get you down!!!

  • Fabi April 2, 2016 - 9:13 am Reply

    Wow, great info from Dr Ann Louise. Go have some cran water. Thaks Dr ALG for all you do.

  • Cynthia VanVranken April 2, 2016 - 3:55 pm Reply

    Thank you Ann I appreciate your support . The reason I asked that question was because a few years ago before those sweeteners became well known it was suggested not to use any sweetness in the cran drink because adding sugar or artificial sweeteners would hinder the positive effects of the cran water so I thought I would ask if these natural sweeteners would be ok or would they hinder what the cran water would do as well .

    • Ann April 2, 2016 - 5:56 pm Reply

      Good question Cynthia!!! Happy to put in a word of support for you! Thanks for your response – Best, Ann

  • Amanda April 2, 2016 - 4:15 pm Reply

    Dearest Cindy,
    You are right. The addition of any sweetener will impact the healthy benefits of the crab water which have been so eloquently articulated in this blog. What is inconceivable is that your innocent question resulted in such malicious comments which clearly have no place on this forum. This is not a political referendum nor a forum for incivility. You are clearly familiar with ALG and her detox principles which is the whole intent of this blog. Thanks for not resorting to name calling and bullying and taking the high road.

  • Cassidy April 2, 2016 - 4:27 pm Reply

    Cran water should never be sweetened. I have followed ALG for years and know this from all of her previous writings.

  • Cynthia VanVranken April 2, 2016 - 5:27 pm Reply

    I thought this was the case but wanted to ask to make sure because some sweeteners are safer then others but I agree non are even better for the cran water 🙂

  • Ann Louise Gittleman April 2, 2016 - 5:39 pm Reply

    For those of you who may have seen inappropriate comments posted here on Ann Louise’s blog, they have now been deleted. Every question asked here is valid and we found Cindy’s question to be an insightful one. Please note that here on annlouise.com we will not tolerate disrespect, incivility, crude language or bullying and any visitor that engages in such behavior will be permanently banned. We don’t always all agree when it comes to health, but debate can be done respectfully.

    To the troll who has since been deleted, it is very obvious to us that you posted all of the comments supporting your original comment since each one came from your IP address.

    All the best,
    Team ALG

  • Connie April 8, 2016 - 8:55 pm Reply

    I have been newly diagnosed with Hypothyroid … the instructions I received was no cranberry juice. Will you please comment. I have enjoyed the cranberry drink for years.

  • Team ALG April 12, 2016 - 7:27 am Reply

    Connie: We see no reason what-so-ever why you should not continue with your cran-water. Perhaps your instructions referred to the commercially sweetened cranberry juice which may contain high fructose corn syrup or regular sugar or even a sugar alcohol? In any case, we have had thousands of hypothyroid followers who have enjoyed and still enjoy their daily cran.

  • Sarah May 9, 2016 - 8:43 pm Reply

    Do you purchase a bottle of organic cranberry juice with no sugar added? Since the bottled juices are pasturized, is this still healthy and will work?

    • Team ALG May 31, 2016 - 12:02 pm Reply

      Yes it is still effective. The only way to get it unpasturized is to juice it yourself. It can be made from the berries.

  • Kathy May 30, 2016 - 8:53 am Reply

    We looked before & did not find cranberry juice without added sugar. Do cranberry pills give the same result?

    • Team ALG May 31, 2016 - 12:07 pm Reply

      Cranberry pills do not have the fresh enzymes that are so helpful with detox. The cranberry juice can be made from berries. There are directions in The Fat Flush Plan.

  • Shelly Porter June 27, 2016 - 7:38 pm Reply

    I am just starting the Fat Flush Plan. Love the book and it all makes so much sense. I am a detail person and having a bit of trouble deciding just how strict everything is suppose to be. My question involves the cranberry juice. I know you mentioned unsweetened cranberry juice, which I have only been able to find at Whole Foods. It is so bitter, but I have been faithfully downing the stuff as directed. (only 3 days into it and already lost 4 lbs. and I do feel my pants are not quite as tight…exciting). Very prepared to continue with the bitter cranberry juice. However, I did read in your book that you suggest Trader Joe’s cranberry juice. I went today and only was able to fine Trader Joe’s cranberry cocktail juice. Ingredients are: filtered water, cranberry juice concentrate, crystalline fructose (from cane or beet sugar) contains 2% or less of the following: coloring, black currant, juice extract, black carrot juice extract, organic natural cranberry pomegranate flavor, with other natural flavors, stevia extract. Is this the Trader Joe’s cranberry juice you were talking about? I know you said no sugar, but I see it is made with Stevia. Thanks for clearing this up for me………….also, can you use salt substitute?

    • Kathie July 3, 2016 - 5:47 pm Reply

      Shelly I started the bile cleanse and cran water plan this week. I found unsweetened cran juice (100% cran) at my natural grocer store. Juice if 1/2 lemon in hot water each morning and cran water the rest of the day. Hoping for improved thyroid function and better digestion. Good luck.

    • Mandy July 11, 2016 - 10:23 am Reply

      Shelly, I found 100% Cranberry Juice at Trader Joe’s last week. The price is only about $3 for 32 ounces. The ingredients say it’s made from whole cranberries. It comes in a small, glass jar. I hope you are able to find it.

  • Jamie December 19, 2016 - 4:52 pm Reply

    Can you still drink cran water if you struggle with kidney stones?

    • Team ALG December 22, 2016 - 1:02 pm Reply

      It’s important to know what type of kidney stones you are prone to forming. Cranberry can help prevent struvite stones and contains polyphenolic compounds that can help dissolve some stones. since it is high in oxalates it can promote stones. The cranwater is diluted so there is not as much of a problem than if you had straight cranberry

  • Mimi February 22, 2017 - 2:10 am Reply

    I am wondering if cranberry juice is high in phytoestrogens? I am very sensitive to phytoestrogens. Thank you!

    • Team ALG February 22, 2017 - 5:48 pm Reply

      Mimi, yes cranberry juice does contain phytoestrogens. This formula is very diluted though so it should be much less likely to cause a sensitivity to it.

  • Tasha May 25, 2017 - 11:46 pm Reply

    Started my cran water today. Drank about 32 oz. I am at the he end of the day my back and inner thighs were super itchy and them kind of broke out like hives. Am I possibly sensitive or allergic to it? I did sod the 1 oz to 7 oz ratio

    • Team ALG May 26, 2017 - 11:25 am Reply


      Yes it is possible you have a sensitivity to it. Try drinking apple cider vinegar diluted 2 tsp per 8 oz. instead

  • Monica June 4, 2017 - 5:31 pm Reply

    I started drinking the cran water with flaxseed each morning, remembering it from a fat flush I did years ago, and also the lemon water. After a few days I realized I was getting burning feelings in the base of my throat. Do you have any suggestions for avoiding this acid-reflux-type problem and still drink the cran water, or would I need to try addressing that separately first? I was hoping to do the 3day smart start while hubby was away on business… But not sure how I’ll fare with the acid problem.

    • Team ALG June 5, 2017 - 3:19 pm Reply

      Monica, do you have the New Fat Flush Plan book? That cocktail isn’t recommended in there. See how you feel on cranwater diluted by half. You can put the fiber in your smoothie or sprinkle it on your food. The cranwater in the smoothie should be ok too. If you still have a burning feeling with the cranwater then switch to apple cider vinegar water, 2 Tbs per quart.

      • Monica June 10, 2017 - 9:56 pm Reply

        No, I haven’t gotten the new book; I will look into it. I guess I figured that “long-life cocktail” wouldn’t change. (Actually, I didn’t know there was a new book until I came back to look for help for this problem. Not enough time these days to read everything I want to!) Thank you for your suggestions. I did try a diluted cran water without flaxseed, and still had some trouble. I will try the acv, although I would really like all the benefits of cranberries!

  • Team ALG June 12, 2017 - 2:29 pm Reply

    Monica, Glad you are looking at the New Fat Flush Plan. It has so many updates it is worth getting it just for reference in doing the plan, even if you don’t have time right now to really read it. Hope the ACV works for you. You could try diluting the cranberry juice again in half and see how that works.

  • suzanne June 13, 2017 - 5:59 pm Reply

    Would one or two caps of organic Lakewood cranberry concentrate (or Knudsen cranberry concentrate) be equivalent to 1 ounce of cranberry juice to 7 ounces of water? Would that combination work as well?

  • Valerie June 14, 2017 - 9:37 am Reply

    I’ve found a cranberry tea (usually for UTI or UT health), would this also work, or should it be raw fresh (since I noticed the unpasteurized comments? Just picked up your book, so not all the way through it yet. I apologize if you answer this in the book, and I just haven’t gotten there yet.

  • Team ALG June 14, 2017 - 5:15 pm Reply

    Suzanne, Use 2 Tbs per quart of cranberry concentrate in place of the cranberry juice.

  • Team ALG June 14, 2017 - 5:17 pm Reply

    Valerie, cranberry tea is not the same. Please get some organic (if possible) Cranberry Juice. You want all the enzymes in the juice.

    • Valerie June 20, 2017 - 9:26 am Reply

      Thanks, I thought that might be the case.

  • Candace July 7, 2017 - 3:08 pm Reply

    I am using 100% cranberry concentrate from vitamin shop. It seems very very strong when I mix it according the instructions. Should I be deleting this more?

    • Team ALG July 12, 2017 - 5:28 pm Reply

      Candace, the cranberry concentrate needs to be diluted more than the cranberry juice. The concentrate should be 3 Tbs per 64 oz of water.

  • Ashley July 11, 2017 - 1:39 pm Reply

    I’m searching for something that will help with pregnancy and post-pardom swelling/water retention. My lil sister just had a baby and during pregnancy her breasts swelled about 6 cup sizes. She’s having difficulty nursing now because they’re so engorged (and her milk hasn’t even come in yet) and her nipples are flat. My question is, will drinking this much cran water affect nursing at all?

    • Team ALG July 12, 2017 - 5:31 pm Reply

      Hi Ashley,

      Cranwater does act as a diuretic. Have her start with 32 oz per day and see how she feels. It shouldn’t interfere with nursing. Also taking vitamin B6, 100 mg per day can help with water retention. It may also be related to hormone levels.

  • Terrie October 25, 2017 - 8:49 pm Reply

    I like to take frozen cranberries and blend with ginger, turmeric, moringa and lemon. Are the whole cranberries ok.

    • Team ALG October 26, 2017 - 1:41 pm Reply

      Terrie: Yes it is ok to use the whole cranberries.

  • Christina Dawson November 3, 2017 - 12:59 pm Reply

    Dear Team ALG,
    Is the cran water an everyday thing or just for a period of 6-7 days.
    Christina Dawson

    • Team ALG November 3, 2017 - 3:32 pm Reply

      You only want to drink cranwater when you are doing a detox or weight loss plan like Fat Flush. This could be a period of time up to several months when you are losing weight. You don’t want to drink it all of the time on an ongoing basis..

      • Mimi February 23, 2018 - 12:06 pm Reply

        I’m confused. In some places on this website Ann says that the cran water can and should be consumed every day indefinitely as part of a healthy diet. Here you say that it should only be used for several months, not on an ongoing basis. Which is the correct answer? Is it harmful to drink the cran water every day for long periods of time?

        • Team ALG February 23, 2018 - 1:53 pm Reply

          Mimi, Cranwater is safe but over a long period of time might contribute to forming kidney stones, especially in those who are prone to getting them.

  • […] If you really want to know how to prevent the flu, it’s time to think about your alkalinity. The optimal pH for the flu to inject itself into a cell is 5.0, which is acidic. You can safely assume if you have the flu that your cellular pH is acidic. My favorite remedy to correct your cellular pH is my cran water, and you can find out more about the amazing cranberry and the recipe for cran water here. […]

  • alesea February 7, 2018 - 10:30 am Reply

    I also have a question. In the article the 2nd method of making cran water says that you would have to boil that pound of cranberries but in the comments I read that you have to preserve the enzymes. Which is the true answer?

    Thank you very much!

    • Ann Louise Gittleman February 7, 2018 - 2:59 pm Reply

      Team ALG here: Cold pressed organic cranberry juice or concentrate is the best. It does retain the enzymes. Lakewood is one brand you can use. Boiling the berries does destroy the enzymes.

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