Three Amazing Health Benefits of Cranberries
You are most likely aware that cranberry juice is known to help in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections, but do you know about the other health benefits associated with these nutrient dense berries?
1. Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
If one of your health goals is to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, then be sure to include cranberries as part of your daily wellness plan. A comprehensive literature review conducted by scientists at Tufts University found a significant body of evidence that cranberries contain chemicals known as polyphenols. These substances prevent blood cells from sticking to the walls of your blood vessels and forming clots.1 These clumps can block blood flow, which leads to heart attacks and strokes.
2. Lower your levels of bad cholesterol
Another risk factor for heart disease is having too much “bad cholesterol” and not enough “good cholesterol.” A study published by nutrition researchers from Boston and the United Kingdom reports that the pigment in cranberries anthocyanin brings the lipids, or fats, in your blood back into balance. Remarkably, these scientists found clinical trials showing that cranberries lowered the LDL (or bad cholesterol) in overweight and obese men, as well as in patients with diabetes.2 These groups of individuals tend to have a great deal of difficulty managing their blood lipid levels, so if cranberries are effective in these populations, it attests to the robust health benefits of this berry.
3. Decrease your risk of developing cancer
Research also demonstrates that the antioxidants and polyphenols in cranberries can slow or prevent the growth of tumors associated with ovarian,3 breast,4 prostate, liver, and colon cancers.5 If you are concerned about the sugar content in cranberries, consider using cranberry extract supplements because the research demonstrates that the sugar in the berries does not influence the effects of the other chemicals in slowing the progression of malignant tumors.
How to enjoy the health benefits of cranberries
Of course, drinking cranberry juice is one of the easiest ways to gain these health benefits. The trouble is that pure cranberry juice has a rather peculiar, tart taste which makes it difficult to enjoy. That is why it is often diluted with other types of juice, such as grape and apple. And in some cases it is even packed with sweeteners in order to make it more palatable.
If you don’t like the tangy taste of these berries or prefer not to stuff yourself with sweeteners, consider ordering a high-quality cranberry extract supplement so you can get some protection against cancer, bad cholesterol and heart disease.
1McKay, D.L. , Blumberg, J.B. Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Nutrition Review, 65(11):490-502. 2007.
2Blumberg, J. B., Camesano, T.A., Cassidy, A., Kris-Etherton, P., Howell, A., Manach, C., Ostertag, L.M., Sies, H., Skulas-Ray, A., Vita, J. Cranberries and their bioactive constituents in human health. Advances in Nutrition, 4 (6): 618-632. 2013. doi:10.3945/an.113.004473
3Kim. K.K., Singh, A.P., Singh, R.K., DeMartino, A., Brard, L., Vorsa, N., Lange, T., & Moore, R.G. Anti-angiogenic activity of cranberry proanthocyanidins and cytotoxic properties in ovarian cancer cells. International Journal of Oncology, 227-235. 2011. 0.3892/ijo.2011.1198.
4Sun, J. & Liu, R.H. Cranberry phytochemical extracts induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Cancer Letters. 241 (1): 124-134. 2006.
5Seeram, N.P., Adams, L.S., Hardy, M.L., Heber, D. Total cranberry extract versus its phytochemical constituents: antiproliferative and synergistic effects against human tumor cell lines. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. 52(9):2512-7. 2004.