The Benefits of Cranberry Juice

Articles
May 10, 2003

The Benefits of Cranberry Juice

You may have heard that drinking cranberry juice helps ward away urinary infections. Now comes more good reasons to drink up – a new study finds that the juice can lower the risk of heart disease for people with high cholesterol, and provide antioxidant benefits.

You may have heard that drinking cranberry juice helps ward away urinary infections. Now comes more good reasons to drink up – a new study finds that the juice can lower the risk of heart disease for people with high cholesterol, and provide antioxidant benefits.

This is the first scientific proof that the juice, long thought to have cholesterol-lowering benefits, actually does. For the study, researchers measured the cholesterol levels of 19 people with high cholesterol, who had a risk of heart disease. Each participant drank 27% pure cranberry juice, commonly found in supermarkets. The participants were divided into two groups. Ten drank cranberry juice with artificial sweetener, 9 with sugar. For the first month, each consumed one eight-ounce glass a day, for the second month, two glasses, and for the third, three glasses. Their cholesterol was tested each month.

Three glasses per day raised good cholesterol 10%, which in turn decreased their risk of heart disease by 40%. The antioxidant benefits were noticeable with just one or two glasses a day. Antioxidants are dietary substances that in small amounts will slow or prevent the oxidation process. This means they can help prevent or fix damage to your cells. They may also lower your risk for cancer or infection and improve how your immune system functions. In addition to cranberry juice, dried cranberries contain antioxidants, more than most fruits. Grape juice is also a good source (though not as good as cranberry juice).

The bottom line: Drinking anywhere from one to three glasses a day of cranberry juice provides health benefits. The antioxidant effects of cranberry juice may last for seven hours. All the findings confirm recommendations that more fruit and vegetables be part of your everyday diet.