About The Buzz: Cranberry Juice Reduces Risk of CVD, Diabetes & Stroke?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Drinking almost two cups of cranberry juice every day may reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke.1
WHAT WE KNOW
Hundreds of thousands of people die each year from complications associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or stroke.2 Cardiometabolic risk is a term used to identify your chance of developing one of these conditions.1 However, lifestyle changes can often lower cardiometabolic risks and therefore increase lifespan. Smoking cessation, losing weight, exercising on a regular basis and eating a healthy diet are all ways to enhance life and decrease risk factors. One method of measuring an individual’s risk for cardiometabolic diseases is a simple blood test to measure C-reactive protein levels (indicator for inflammation), triglycerides, glucose concentrations, and also assessing blood pressure and BMI.1 Elevated levels in one or more factors may indicate greater risk of developing disease. However, recent studies may have found that cranberry juice could be an easy lifestyle modification that improves glucose function, lowers blood pressure, C-reactive proteins and triglycerides levels to decrease chance of cardiometabolic disease onset.1,3
HOW WE KNOW THIS
A 2015 study looked at 56 men and women who were in basic good health between the ages of 25-65 years old.1 Baseline health data was collected and volunteers were randomly split into a placebo or cranberry juice treatment group. Each individual consumed eight ounces of assigned beverage two times a day for eight weeks. Study participants were also instructed to follow strict diets that were provided for them. At the end of the study period the cranberry juice treatment group was found to have lower triglyceride concentrations, reduced C-reactive protein levels, lower diastolic blood pressure, a reduced fasting plasma glucose value and no change in weight.
Another study analyzed data from the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for cranberry juice cocktail intake and its effect on BMI, C-reactive protein and cholesterol levels.3 Researchers found no significant difference in BMI or cholesterol levels in people that consumed about two cups of cranberry juice a day, but they did discover reduced C-reactive protein concentrations amongst cranberry juice cocktail consumers.
Further research is needed to determine if cranberry juice intake over a longer period of time could have a greater impact on overall health and also what amount of cranberry juice may be the most effective to achieve metabolic change. The mechanism in cranberry juice that resulted in significant health changes also needs to be determined. However, cranberry juice contains various phytochemicals that work to protect the body.4 The main groups of phytochemicals in cranberries are the proanthocyanins (PAC’s) and flavonols like quercetin, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties but also deliver other benefits to support health. Previous research on PAC’s and flavonols supports the newest findings. A 2014 study found that people consuming a cranberry juice beverage that contained at least 54% cranberry juice a day had a higher level of phytochemicals actively available to their body which could potentially offer ongoing protection against diseases.5
To decrease cardiometabolic risk, work towards making positive lifestyle changes. A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important. Fruits and veggies contain many different phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are incredibly beneficial for the body. Start with simple changes such as drinking cranberry juice, parking farther away from a store entrance, making half-your-plate at meal and snack time fruits and vegetables, and stop smoking.
5 Ways to Add Cranberry Juice to Your Day
- Smoothie. Enjoy cranberry juice blend in our cran-licious smoothie.
- Freeze It. Pour cranberry juice into ice cube trays or juice pop molds and freeze. Use in your water or other favorite non-sugary beverages for a bit of sweetness or just enjoy on a warm day.
- Drink Up. Use cranberry juice as a base for drinks or just enjoy on its own.
- Sauce. Make a sauce with cranberry juice or cranberries to serve with meat dishes.
- Salad Dressing. Combine cranberry juice, olive oil and raspberry/red wine vinegar to make a delicious dressing for salads!
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