Sometimes the most potent health power derives from the littlest berries. A small berry, whose vines can live to be 150 years old, have been found to contain natural substances that may increase our longevity by working against diabetes and heart disease.
The fruit is the tart cranberry which contains compounds called polyphenols. These polyphenols can aid the body in keeping blood sugar under control and help protect the cardiovascular system.
During a two month study, investigators found that drinking two 8 ounce glasses of cranberry juice a day can reduce the risk factors for heart disease by 10 percent and drop the chances of a stroke by 15 percent.
“These findings suggest that polyphenols help to protect our bodies, and may be adept at keeping a large number of ailments at bay,” says researcher Christina Khoo. “Luckily for us, a rich source of polyphenols is only a glass of cranberry juice away. Among the commonly consumed fruits in our diets, cranberries boast some of the highest levels of polyphenols — more than apples, blueberries, grapes or cherries.”
During the tests, researchers measured blood pressure, blood sugar levels, blood lipids and C-reactive protein — a marker of inflammation. In individuals drinking two glasses of low-calorie cranberry juice a day, they saw improved measures across the board.
Along with this research, a variety of other studies have confirmed that cranberries are champs at helping the body stay healthier. For instance, research has established that they help prevent urinary tract infections. Other studies have shown natural substances in cranberries can help ease prostate problems. And tests have demonstrated that cranberries offer liver protection, too.
If you decide to consume your cranberries in juice, avoid brands that sweeten the juice with high-fructose corn syrup. Most cranberry juice blends contain high amounts of added sugars as well. Look for 100 percent cranberry juice, but don’t stop there. Be sure to check the sugar content on the label.
One brand that may fit the bill is Lakewood Organic Pure Cranberry juice. According to their site, an eight ounce serving contains just 9 grams of sugar, is not from concentrate and is organic, GMO-free and certified Kosher.
Editor’s note: Dr. Mark Wiley wrote the book on natural ways to reverse and prevent hypertension to avoid stroke. It’s available to Easy Health Options readers for just $9.99 (regularly $39.95). Just click here to download your e-book today.