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Regular intake of cranberries can boost heart health: Study​​

by Pragati Singh

According to a new clinical experiment headed by King’s College, consuming cranberries on a daily basis for one month can enhance cardiovascular function in healthy males. The study’s findings were published in the journal “Food & Function.” For one month, 45 healthy males ingested whole cranberry powder equivalent to 110g of fresh cranberries per day (9 g powder) or a placebo. Those that consumed cranberries showed significantly improved flow-mediated dilation (FMD), which indicates improved heart and blood vessel function. FMD is a sensitive biomarker of cardiovascular disease risk that assesses how blood vessels expand in response to increased blood flow.

Dr Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London and senior author of the study, said “The increases in polyphenols and metabolites in the bloodstream and the related improvements in flow-mediated dilation after cranberry consumption highlight the important role cranberries may play in cardiovascular disease prevention.”

“The fact that these gains in cardiovascular health were found with a quantity of cranberries that may be fairly ingested on a daily basis makes cranberries an essential fruit in the prevention of cardiovascular disease for the general public,” he noted.

Low fruit and vegetable consumption is one of the top modifiable risk factors associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease worldwide. According to growing studies, berries’ polyphenols continue to be linked to heart health advantages. Cranberries are high in proanthocyanidins, which have unique qualities when compared to the polyphenols present in other fruits. This study looked at the effects of whole cranberry freeze-dried powder, which is comparable to 100g of fresh cranberries, on cardiovascular health. The findings showed that eating cranberries as part of a balanced diet can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing blood vessel function.

An early pilot study with five healthy young men was carried out to establish the biological activity of the whole cranberry freeze-dried powder. The pilot concluded that eating cranberries raised FMD and verified dosage. The primary trial used a gold-standard study design, with 45 healthy males taking two packets of whole cranberry freeze-dried powder equivalent to 100g of fresh cranberries or a placebo every day for one month.

The study discovered substantial improvements in FMD two hours after the initial consumption and after one month of daily ingestion, demonstrating both immediate and long-term effects. Furthermore, metabolites were discovered and predicted to have the favourable effects reported in FMD. These findings suggest that cranberries may play a significant role in promoting cardiovascular health and blood vessel function.

Dr. Christian Heiss, co-author of the study and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Surrey, stated, “Our findings give convincing evidence that cranberries can have a major impact on vascular health even in people who have a low risk of cardiovascular disease.” This research also suggests that certain metabolites found in the blood after cranberry eating are linked to the favourable benefits. “

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