Cranberry juice chemicals could cut risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Kurt Wood
Wed, 01 Jul 2015
Cranberry juice chemicals could cut risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
Drinking two glasses of cranberry juice a day could reduce risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

The study, which was conducted by researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), found that the polyphenols contained in cranberries can support the body's defences against disease.

The researchers recruited 56 healthy adult participants, with an average age of 50. The participants were divided into two groups: the first group drank an 8oz glass of low-calorie cranberry juice twice a day; the second drank a placebo that looked and tasted the same.

Then the team measured blood pressure, blood sugar levels, blood lipids, and C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. The higher the numbers, the higher the risk of disease such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

The first group, which drank two glasses of cranberry juice a day, had consistently better readings for all of the measurements. In total, the researchers noted a 10 per cent reduction in heart disease risk and a 15 per cent reduction in the risk of stroke.

In particular, the researchers noted a drop in blood pressure as a result of drinking the cranberry juice, equal to top-rated heart disease-preventing diets.

"These findings suggest that polyphenols help to protect our bodies, and may be adapt at keeping a large number of ailments at bay," said Christina Khoo, PhD, Director of Research Sciences at Ocean Spray.

"Luckily for us, a rich source of polyphenols is only a glass of cranberry juice away. Among the commonly consumed fruits in our diets, cranberries boast some of the highest levels of polyphenols - more than apples, blueberries, grapes or cherries."

For people at risk of type 2 diabetes, a twice-daily glass of cranberry juice could be a simple way to reduce type 2 risk. For people already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it could be a great way to reduce the risk of heart disease.

That said, a typical glass of cranberry juice is quite high in calories, and two 8oz glasses a day is an excessive amount for most people with type 2 diabetes. The research emphasised the importance of drinking low-calorie cranberry juice as a way to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
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