A new study presented at the Cranberry Health Research Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, shows that regular consumption of cranberry juice may be an effective way of warding off cardiovascular disease, EurekAlert reports. The study, which was led by Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, PhD, showed a link between cranberry juice and improved vascular dysfunction, and may lead to atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries and limits blood flow.
“Cranberry juice is a rich source of phytonutrients, including proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins and phenolic acids,” Dr. Rodriguez-Matoes from the Division of Cardiology, Pulmonology and Vascular Medicine at the University Duesseldorf, Germany explained. “Due to this robust profile of polyphenols, our team sought to evaluate the immediate vascular impact of drinking one, 450 ml (or 16 ounces) glass of cranberry juice with a different range of concentrations of cranberry-polyphenols.”
Researchers performed a randomized, controlled crossover trial in which ten healthy male participants with ages 18 to 40 years were given 450 ml of sweetened cranberry juice made from concentrate. The beverage was prepared with water to concentrations ranging from 0 to 117%, and the amount of cranberry-polyphenols increased with the concentration.
Researchers measured vascular function via flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), blood pressure, and arterial stiffness, which were performed at baseline and at one, two, four, six and eight hours after the cranberry concentrate was consumed. Blood and urine samples were also taken for 24 hours after consuming the cranberry juice, in order to detect changes in plasma and urinary cranberry-derived polyphenols.
Results showed that cranberry juice benefited FMD, including the 25% mixture, which is commonly found in cranberry juice cocktails. The highest concentration also showed results of improved systolic blood pressure.
Dr. Rodriguez-Mateos said, “Our results lay the groundwork to better understand the array of potential vascular and cardiovascular health benefits of cranberry polyphenols.”
She added that “Significant improvements in vascular function from drinking two cups of cranberry juice suggest an important role for cranberries in a heart-healthy diet.”
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Around 610,000 deaths are attributed to heart disease annually, and about 730,000 Americans experience have a heart attack every year.
The American Heart Association warns that atherosclerosis may caused by several factors including high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking. A healthy diet, proper exercise, and smoking cessation is highly recommended for those at risk for atherosclerosis and other heart diseases.
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source: Latinos Health