Cranberries continue to impress scientists with their whole body health benefits as evidenced by the profusion of cranberry studies presented at the 2015 Experimental Biology conference in Bostonlast week. The research buoyed the tart fruit’s reputation for supercharging well-being and spotlighted the cranberry’s emerging role in helping to maintain blood sugar levels, a finding that could provide promising news for the future management of risks of diabetes.
Cranberries and Managing Diabetes
Given cranberries are naturally low in sugar, fat-free and a good source of fiber, researchers from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University joined forces to determine whether cranberry consumption could improve blood sugar levels in adults with Type 2 diabetes.
The spotlight study split participants into two groups: Both ate a high-fat breakfast, however, one group had dried cranberries with their breakfast, while the other was given bananas. Blood draws taken after the meal revealed modest but notable beneficial effects in blood sugar among those who had eaten cranberries with their breakfast.
“These findings are very promising,” explained Dr. Arpita Basu of Oklahoma State University. “It suggests there may be a buffering effect for blood sugar from eating polyphenol-rich cranberries. Which means that simply adding a serving of cranberries to a meal could help protect against the spikes and dips in blood sugar that are related to internal damage of blood vessels.”
The findings set the stage for future research, which may provide welcome news for the 29.1 million people in the U.S. living with diabetes each year.
The Body’s Inner Armor
Among the common themes emerging from the other featured studies is that cranberries provide a rich source of protective compounds called polyphenols that support our body’s antioxidant enzymes so that they are better able to protect our body against inflammation and illness, in effect, strengthening the body’s own defense system.
“The collective research shows that when you consume cranberries – whether in whole fruit or liquid form– their protective compounds are absorbed and present in the body,” said Dr. Christina Khoo, Director of Research Sciences, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. “This is an important finding as we continue to understand the protective role of cranberries and the many applications for whole body health.”
Cranberries contain more naturally occurring polyphenols than most other common fruits and studies suggest that consuming cranberries may have a positive effect on health by maintaining cellular health. Here’s what the latest research revealed about the protective benefits of this exceptional fruit:
- 25 percent less cell damage was experienced by human liver cells bathed in cranberry polyphenols for 20 hours, as compared to untested cells. Unchallenged over time, this cell damage could lead to heart disease and a number of chronic diseases.
- 15.2 oz., or two glasses, of high polyphenol cranberry extract beverage consumed daily over time was enough to promote the activity of the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, which fight off damaging free radicals in our bodies. The benefit of less free radicals is clear in lower inflammation levels.
- 8 weeks of drinking low-calorie cranberry juice may help maintain plasma cysteine, an essential amino acid for synthesis of glutathione, an important component of our body’s own defenses, and may help keep our bodies balanced and functioning optimally.
These studies continue to build on the body of evidence supporting cranberry products as part of a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle. For more information about the whole body health benefits of cranberries, visit http://bit.ly/1F9ynGf.
About Ocean Spray
Ocean Spray is a vibrant agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry and grapefruit growers in the United States, Canada and Chile who have helped preserve the family farming way of life for generations. Formed in 1930, Ocean Spray is now the world’s leading producer of cranberry juices, juice drinks and dried cranberries and is the best-selling brand in the North American bottled juice category. The cooperative’s cranberries are currently featured in more than a thousand great-tasting, good-for-you products in over 90 countries worldwide. With more than 2,000 employees and nearly 20 cranberry receiving and processing facilities, Ocean Spray is committed to managing our business in a way that respects our communities, employees and the environment. In fiscal year 2013, Ocean Spray posted gross sales of $2.2 billion and net proceeds of $380 million. For more information visit www.oceanspray.com or our corporate blog atwww.insidethecranberry.com.