You probably already know that drinking cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections. That‘s because cranberry juice zaps the E. coli bacteria responsible for most UTIs.

But did you know that cranberry juice might even protect you against the far more serious staph infection?

Not all bacteria are created equal...

The bacteria known as S. aureus can cause a range of staph infections. In fact, these pesky bacteria can cause everything from minor skin infections to deadly internal infections. They become dangerous when they attach to a host cell and form a "biofilm." This thin, sticky film creates a happy haven where the bacteria can grow and spread.

Unfortunately, many strains of the S. aureus bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics. And that‘s why staph infections are so worrisome in hospitals. Once you get one, it‘s very hard to treat. In fact, according to one study, deaths from staph infections have doubled between the years 1999 and 2005.

Cranberries thwart staph infections

But U.S. scientists recently discovered that regular old cranberry juice cocktail could protect you from these deadly infections. They gave one group of patients a serving of cranberry juice and gave the other group of patients a placebo drink that tasted like cranberry.

Then the scientists collected urine samples from the patients and placed the samples in petri dishes that contained strains of the E. coli or S. aureus bacteria. Amazingly, they found that the samples taken from patients who drank cranberry juice had a clear advantage. These samples didn‘t allow the harmful bacteria to take hold.

According to the study‘s lead author, "We saw essentially no biofilm in the staph samples, which is very surprising because Staph aureus is usually very good at forming biofilms. That‘s what makes it such a health problem."

Bottom line: Drink cranberry juice, especially if when you‘re hospitalized. It just may prevent you from developing a staph infection.