Fortified Cranberry Juice Improves Heart Health Markers
A recent study links drinking cranberry juice fortified with folic acid with lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) for people with metabolic syndrome. Participants in the study saw reduced levels of andiponectin (a hormone from fat cells that helps regulate insulin sensitivity and energy) and homocysteine (an amino acid linked to higher risk of CVD).
Metabolic syndrome is the group of risk factors that contribute to coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These risk factors include high blood pressure, insulin resistance, large waist circumference, high triglyceride levels and high cholesterol.
People with metabolic syndrome are at a 2 to 4 times higher risk of developing CVD.
Participants in the study included 56 adults with metabolic syndrome. Over the course of 60 days, half of the group consumed 0.7 liters of a folic acid-enriched cranberry juice while the other half consumed a control juice.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted the changes in andiponectin and homocysteine in the enriched juice group but not in the control group. The enriched juice group also had higher folic acid levels and decreased levels of oxidative stress.
Researchers from the University of Londrina in Brazil conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 11, 2013, in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Cranberries have anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic properties, and are packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants. They have been shown to provide a lengthy list of health benefits including improved urological health, protection against heart disease, and inflammatory diseases. They also have been linked with lower plaque formation on teeth and improved cholesterol levels.
Cranberries have a sour taste, so people usually drink cranberry juice with added sugar. However the added sugar can be detrimental to overall health, so it is best to stick with a low-calorie version.