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Cranberries Show Heart Health Potential

According to researchers at Boston and Tufts Universities, antioxidant rich cranberry juice may improve heart health. Their findings were published in the March 2011 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The researchers conducted two studies. The first study was a pilot study with no placebo involving 15 participants. The second was a placebo-controlled study that involved 44 participants with coronary artery disease.

For both studies, the researchers had the participants consume 480 ml of double strength cranberry juice. Double strength cranberry juice contains twice the amount of antioxidants of regular cranberry juice or 835 milligrams of total polyphenols and 94 mg of anthocyanins.

In the pilot study, cranberry juice consumption was shown to improve various markers of arterial flow, an important measure of heart health. Specifically, 4 hours after ingestion the researchers observed an increase in flow-mediated dilation, from 7.7% to 8.7%. They also observed an increase in digital pulse amplitude tonometry ratio from to 0.10 to 0.23.

These improvements were not seen in the participants in the placebo-controlled study. However, carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity decreased after cranberry juice consumption and increased after placebo consumption. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity measures arterial stiffness.

The researchers noted that these findings are still very preliminary, and that they need to identify how cranberry juice reduced arterial stiffness.

Cranberries are packed with beneficial natural vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers and antioxidants. These compounds in cranberries have been shown to a lengthy list of health benefits including protection against heart disease, UTI’s, cancer and inflammatory diseases.

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