Crimson cranberry is a tiny emblem of autumn, particularly in the American northeast. And cranberries are a staple at the Thanksgiving table. We think of them almost as decoration but cranberry benefits are remarkable. But cranberries as an aphrodisiac? Can this food of traditional Holiday meals really be something sexy? You might be surprised to discover cranberry benefits sexually, which include some impressive sexual benefits of cranberry juice.
A brief history of cranberries in America
They are among North America’s native fruits and were originally named “craneberries” by the Pilgrims, who thought the plants’ blossoms resembled the bill of the Sandhill crane.
By the 19th century, the popularity of cranberries took off in Europe. And farmers began to plant the American fruit throughout Britain and Scandinavia.
Thanks to Ocean Spray, cranberries are now enjoyed year-round in juice blends, the Cape Codder cocktail and dried and served like tart raisins. But if you want to experience the best of fresh cranberries, try my candied cranberry recipe.
Cranberry sex benefits: Why this berry is a sexual superfood
In order to better understand how cranberries may boost sexual health, its important to examine the nutrients in cranberries associated with sexual health. One cup of whole, raw cranberries contains:
13.3mg vitamin C
1.2mg vitamin E
5.1mcg vitamin K
It is also worth noting that the fruit contains traces of vitamin B6 (which plays a role in helping women maintain libido), potassium and copper. Both fresh and dried cranberries are also considered a good source of fiber. A 1/4 cup serving of dried, sweetened cranberries offers around 2 grams of fiber. That’s pretty good for a tasty snack. (Just watch out for added sugar.) Fiber might not sound sexy. But neither is constipation. Getting daily fiber will banish bloat and help you look and feel your best. Make no doubt about it, fiber is important to your sexual performance.
Supports sex drive
One cup of fresh cranberries provides 20% DV of manganese. This mineral is essential to men’s sexual health. In fact, according to Nature’s Aphrodisiacs, manganese deficiency in men is linked with lack of sex drive and a lack of semen.
May improve sexual function
Cranberry is also a source of a key nutrient for sex drive and sexual performance. Vitamin C is clinically proven to aid blood flow and promote the production of nitric oxide, making sexual arousal possible. And that boost of vitamin C found in cranberries may also improve sexual function.
The berries also contain about 1% DV of vitamin A per serving, This fat-soluble vitamin is linked with maintaining fertility. This essential vitamin is also important for vision and it supports the immune system. And while neither vision nor immune system health directly impact sex, they contribute to the role of a creative and enthusiastic lover.
RELATED: 5 Foods to Eat for Fertility
Is cranberry juice good for you?
If you’ve heard that juice is just another sugary soft drink, you’re probably wondering, “What is cranberry juice good for treating, if anything?” It is true that cranberry juice has sugar, a lot of sugar. (There are over 30 grams per cup in unsweetened cranberry juice).
Benefits of whole fruit vs juice
Like most fruits, cranberries have more benefits in their whole, fresh form than they do as a juice. These cranberry health benefits impact sexual health as well as overall health. But to get the highest concentration of antioxidants, eat fresh fruit and choose the ripest berries you can find. A product of the ripening process is something called NCC’s, (nonfluorescent chlorophyll catabolites). These NCC’s are powerful antioxidants that protect the plant, (not to mention the human body, once the NCC’s are ingested).
That being said, it is worth noting that cranberry juice is considered rich in antioxidants. In a recent study, cranberry juice was rated among the five highest juices for antioxidant activity. In fact, it was right up there with grape juice and red wine. In fact, this fruit juice has undeniable, proven benefits to heart health and even digestive health. But the most remarkable research-backed benefits are related to cranberry juice and sexual health.
What does cranberry juice do sexually?
You probably have had someone suggest drinking cranberry juice to cure one ailment or another. Cranberry juice is associated with fighting aging and other skin benefits, preventing urinary tract infections and even boosting immunity against the common cold. You may have even heard that drinking cranberry juice will give your sex life a boost. This juice isn’t exactly what you would call a sensual drink but is cranberry juice an aphrodisiac? There are several scientific findings that help to support the claim.
Scientific investigations such as this 2011 cranberry juice study illustrate the benefits of cranberry juice to vascular function and indicate that the polyphenols in cranberry juice may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But how does the cardiovascular benefit of cranberry juice help your sexual performance?
You may not initially think there’s a relationship between heart disease and your sex life. But according to the AHA journal Circulation, your heart is one of the most important organs for your sex life. According to an article appearing in the publication entitled, “Sexual Health Concerns in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease,” somewhere between 60% and 90% of those with chronic heart failure report sexual dysfunction. In other words, consuming foods and beverages that benefit heart health like cranberry juice will go a long way toward promoting your sexual health.
RELATED: The 10 Steps to Sexy Diet
How cranberry juice benefits females sexually
Another 2011 cranberry juice study demonstrated the heart health benefits of the juice specific to women. This study found that drinking cranberry juice regularly increased plasma antioxidant capacity in women with metabolic syndrome and that it reduced their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
How much these benefits would impact women with normal heart function and cholesterol levels is unclear. But these findings certainly indicate that cranberries can support women’s heart health. And this, in turn, can improve sexual health.
And there’s evidence that cranberry juice can benefit women’s sexual health and possibly even fertility in a surprising way. You may know that cranberry juice can help clean the urinary tract, including the kidneys. A study published in 2017 implies that the effect is thanks to cranberries’ antibacterial properties.
This is, of course, good news for any woman who suffers from urinary tract infections or UTIs. But it is also important for supporting fertility and sexual health. Chronic kidney disease is associated with reduced fertility. And with the decline of kidney health, sexual health also declines.
It should be noted that other studies have contradicted findings that the benefits cranberry juice can offer to women suffering from urinary tract infections. But even the National Kidney Association promotes the use of cranberries for kidney health. So if your goal is sexual health, cranberry juice for women sounds like a sure thing.
There is one more significant cranberry juice sex benefit for women. There is some evidence that drinking cranberry juice appears to have a positive effect on the vaginal microbiome. It may enhance the flavor of a woman’s vaginal secretions, thereby increasing the pleasure of certain sexual experiences for her and her partner. (Although I have heard this recommendation from doctors, there is little research to support the claim.)
Can cranberry pills benefit females sexually as a replacement for cranberry juice?
There are so many cranberry products on the market claiming to offer the benefits of fresh cranberry. You may have heard that taking cranberry supplements can offer the same benefits to a woman’s urinary tract as can drinking cranberry juice. Cranberry extract is considered safe when taken in powder or pill form. And there is evidence that getting cranberry benefits in supplement form can aid in the health of the urinary tract and kidneys.
It does appear that cranberry supplements can be useful to women but what we really focus on here at Eat Something Sexy is the culinary use of potential aphrodisiacs. It is recommended that you talk with a medical professional about dosage before starting treatment with cranberry pills.
Cranberry juice benefits for male sexual health
Cranberry juice may be just as beneficial to male urinary tract health as it is for women’s health. According to one Czech study, cranberry juice may improve urinary tract health and reduce Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. High PSA levels are linked with an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer. A low PSA level is desirable for optimal prostate health.
According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, it appears that cranberry has the potential to treat erectile dysfunction. According to research published in the journal’s February 2018 issue, cranberry has the potential to treat and prevent erectile dysfunction in men with urinary tract infections. (Note that the study was performed with a cranberry extract, not the fruit or juice.) Unfortunately, further study is needed to better understand the dosing and potential effectiveness of cranberry as an erectile dysfunction treatment before this fruit is to become a natural ED remedy.
Cranberry juice and oral health
One last benefit of cranberry juice that could improve the romantic lives of both men and women is the fact that this juice is linked with the prevention of gum disease. According to this 2014 research, the polyphenols in cranberry juice may improve oral health. This obviously won’t improve sex drive or sexual performance but it might make you a more desirable kisser.
There are very few known side effects associated with cranberry and cranberry juice. Overindulgence in cranberry juice can be associated with stomach upset and diarrhea. And according to rxlist.com, although there are no known serious drug interactions, it is known to have mild interactions with Warfarin. It is recommended that anyone increasing cranberry fruit or juice consumption check with a doctor or pharmacist to avoid any drug interactions with their medications.
Incorporating cranberry & cranberry juice into your diet
The simplest way to get more benefits of cranberries is to start drinking cranberry juice. Just remember to include this in your daily sugar intake. You might need to reduce other sources of sugar in your diet. You can also turn cranberry juice into a festive mocktail with a squeeze of fresh orange and a splash of club soda or seltzer.
But if you want to start eating more dried or fresh cranberries, here are some recipes to inspire you:
The Easiest Cranberry Cake
Cranberry Persimmon Fruit Salsa
Cranberry Chocolate Daiquiri (made with cranberry puree)
Turkey Congee with Cranberries
Massaged Kale Salad with Cranberries and Persimmons
Manhattan Cocktail with Cranberry Bitters
Discover more of the world’s greatest aphrodisiac foods
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only. It is important to consult your physician before making dietary changes.
This article was written in 2010 and most recently updated in February 2023.
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We recommending consulting a medical professional before making drastic changes to your diet.
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