New cardiovascular research presented about cranberries

A new study presented today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles found further evidence of the cranberry’s ability to reduce cardiovascular risk factors in adults due to the wealth of polyphenol antioxidant compounds found in cranberries. Conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s in-house research arm Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the study found that participants who drank cranberry juice as part of a typical American diet had lower triglyceride and C-reactive protein levels, an indicator of inflammation, than those who did not. “The American Heart Association recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as an appropriate strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk, and these findings help us understand the mechanisms of benefit.” The study, an eight-week randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial led by USDA-ARS research physiologist Dr. Janet Novotny, looked at the effect of daily consumption of a low-calorie cranberry juice beverage on risk factors of cardiovascular disease in normal-weight adults with an average age of 50. After eight weeks, volunteers who consumed cranberry juice were found to have significantly lower triglyceride levels, a risk factor for heart disease, than those who consumed the placebo beverage. Volunteers who consumed cranberry juice also experienced significant lowering of C-reactive protein, a measure of inflammation that plays a role in heart attack and stroke.1 "The study by Dr. Novotny and colleagues was carefully controlled and showed modest, but significant reductions in two markers of cardiovascular risk: systemic inflammation and triglyceride levels. These results add to the growing body of literature showing favorable effects of cranberry juice and other polyphenol-containing beverages on biomarkers of cardiovascular risk," said Joseph A. Vita, M.D., Director of Clinical Research, Cardiovascular Center, Boston Medical Center. "The American Heart Association recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as an appropriate strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk, and these findings help us understand the mechanisms of benefit." The research presented today adds to USDA study results presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions in September which found that cranberry juice consumption was associated with improved blood pressure in adults. The heart health benefits of cranberries have been highlighted in a number of previous studies as well. For example, a 2011 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, led by Dr. Vita of Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, examined the effects of cranberry juice (a 54 percent juice beverage) on vascular function in patients with coronary artery disease. Over a four week period, the study found cranberry juice consumption reduced signs of arterial stiffness, a predictor of cardiovascular disease. For more information on how cranberries and cranberry juice contribute to whole-body health, and for abstracts of the studies summarized above, please go to www.cranberryhealth.com. Source: Fresh-Plaza

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