LAKEVILLE-MIDDLEBORO, Mass.—Adding eight ounces of cranberry juice per day or one serving of dried cranberries to consumers’ diets would nearly double the U.S. population’s intake of flavonoids, according to research discussed at the American Society for Nutrition’s 2013 Advances and Controversies in Clinical Nutrition Conference in Washington, Dec. 5.
Flavonoids are a category of polyphenols found in colorful fruits and vegetables linked to improved cardiovascular and cellular health as well as reduced inflammation.
Presenter David Baer, Ph.D., USDA-Agricultural Research Service Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, said polyphenols (plant compounds found in wine, tea and many common fruits) could enhance diets and improve whole body health—a hundred grams of cranberries contains more polyphenolic antioxidants than the equivalent amount of strawberries, broccoli, white grapes, bananas or apples.
Consuming cranberries or cranberry juice can also improve urinary tract health and heart health. During a double blind placebo controlled clinical study, subjects drinking low-calorie cranberry juice cocktail had significantly lower C-reactive protein and diastolic blood pressure than subjects on a placebo beverage. Cranberries, because of their high concentrations of flavonoids, can help promote cardiometabolic markers and help maintain cardiovascular health, including lowering blood pressure.
In addition, people who consume cranberry beverages were more likely to have a lower waist circumference and be less overweight or obese, showing cranberries can be part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.