Health benefits of drinking cranberry juice
Cranberry juice may help lower a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, according to a recent study.
The “superfruit” is rich in nutrients called polyphenols, and research has shown that there might be a connection between polyphenols and a reduced risk for certain diseases.
Looking at more than 50 adults, study leaders measured key health indicators, such as blood pressure and blood sugar. Participants were provided healthy meals for eight weeks, and one group was asked to drink an 8-ounce glass of low-calorie cranberry juice twice a day, while the other group had a placebo.
At the end of the study, researchers tested health indicators again. Those who were drinking cranberry juice showed improvements across all measures. Their blood pressure was also reduced significantly — on par with results from expert-recommended diets for blood pressure control, like the DASH diet.
“These findings suggest that polyphenols help to protect our bodies and may be adept at keeping a large number of ailments at bay,” lead researcher Christina Khoo said in a news release. “Among the commonly consumed fruits in our diets, cranberries boast some of the highest levels of polyphenols—more than apples, blueberries, grapes or cherries.”
But expert dietitians warn people should read food labels before purchasing their next bottle of cranberry juice.
“Cranberry juice can be a healthful addition to the diet, but it’s important to choose 100 percent cranberry juice with no sugar added,” says Dana Artinyan, registered dietitian at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “Added sugars can increase risk for cardiovascular events and should be limited to 25 grams — or about six teaspoons — a day.”
When it comes to lowering the risk for conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes, there are other things people can do besides adding cranberry juice to their diet, Artinyan says.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Limit fats and sugars.
- Drink more water. Drinking water not only helps you stay hydrated but may also promote weight loss by making you feel full.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, try to lose extra pounds.
- Get active. Exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week.
- Don’t smoke. If you’re a smoker, quitting will help lower your risk for many conditions and improve your overall health.
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