German scientists recently presented at the Berry Health Benefits Symposium 2015
in Madison, WI promising results from a study on cranberries and cardiovascular health. From the University of Duesseldorf, Dr. Ana Rodriguez-Mateos and her team conducted a study that linked drinking more cranberry juice with protection from atherosclerosis.
The study, funded by The Cranberry Institute
, included 10 healthy males who drank juice with increasing concentrations of cranberries. The scientists analyzed changes in various vascular functions such as flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), blood pressure, and arterial stiffness at different times pre- and post-juice intake.
Results from the study showed that all concentrations of cranberry juice had a positive impact on FMD. The scientists listed the concentration of "commonly consumed cranberry juice cocktail" to be 25-27%, and in the study the concentrations ranged from 0 to 117%. Only the subjects drinking the highest concentration of juice in the study saw a positive impact on systolic blood pressure.
How exactly do cranberries positively impact cardiovascular function? Cranberries are an excellent source of phytonutrients, which are a type of polyphenol naturally occuring in a lot of fruits and vegetables (The Cranberry Institute
). Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants, and have also been shown to "provide protection from some bacterial pathogens, cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation." Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the body, relieving oxidative stress occuring from things like UV light exposure, smoking, and other chemicals.
The Cranberry Institute
is a non-profit research organization founded in 1951, devoted to "supporting research and increasing awareness about the health benefits of the cranberry."
The results from the study conducted at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany, implicate strong ability of cranberries to decrease the risk of atherosclerosis, a disease caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries (NIH
). Cranberries are also thought to reduce risk of other cardiovascular diseases, improve kidney function, enhance hormone delivery, and improve waste filtration.
Check out the video below for a summary of cranberry health benefits.