Cranberry has more antioxidants than red wine

London: Research just published in The British Journal of Nutrition reveals that drinking a glass of light cranberry juice every day boosts good cholesterol and shields the heart with its unique antioxidant power.

Scientists have found the refreshing fruit juice delivers a dual benefit to boost heart health and has similar benefits to red wine. A clinical study by researchers at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada, shows daily consumption of light cranberry juice increases the amount of “good” cholesterol in the body by 8% as well as providing strong antioxidant protection against bad cholesterol, a major cause of heart disease.

The findings add more benefits to long standing research already associated with cranberry juice including its ability to ward off urinary tract infections and potentially cut the risk of gum disease and stomach ulcers.

This latest study indicates that cranberry juice improves circulation by increasing the level of high density lipoproteins (HDL), or good cholesterol, which carries fatty particles in the blood stream away from the heart.

Critical to the study was the product used in the research: Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic Light, a low sugar, high concentration (25%) cranberry juice drink.

Dr Charles Couillard, lead researcher of the study and a member of the Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods at Laval University said: “We found that by consuming a daily glass of light cranberry juice, the good cholesterol found in blood increased.”

He added: “An increase in HDL cholesterol is a sign that the arteries are clearing up the accumulated cholesterol,which is positive for heart health.The best way to prevent chronic disease is to adopt an active lifestyle, as well as better nutritional habits. Now drinking a glass of cranberry juice on a daily basis is certainly a good nutritional habit to adopt, but to maximise the benefits of drinking cranberry juice, you will need to get more active and also eat less fat.”

Another recent laboratory study at the William Harvey ResearchInstitute at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London found that a serving of cranberry juice each day could be as good for the heart as red wine.

Scientists tested cranberry juice drink, light cranberry juice drink (both at 25% concentrations), a California merlot and an Argentine cabernet sauvignon and found an average serving of cranberry juice drink was equivalent to a glass of red wine in their relative potential to prevent atherosclerosis – a condition that leads to thickening of the arteries and can result in a heart attack or stroke.

Reference: Favourable impact of low-calorie cranberry juice consumption on plasmaHDL-chloesterol concentration in men, British Journal of Nutrition (2006), 96, 357-364 Notes to Editors: Laval University conducted a 12 week study, looked at 30 men aged 18-70 who were slightly overweight, had an elevated LDL (bad cholesterol) level, were not taking medication and were given Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Cocktail (UK equivalent is Cranberry Classic Light) Heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer with 125,000 deaths a year. According to the British Heart Foundation nearly half of all deaths from coronary heart disease in the UK are due to raised cholesterol, which is estimated to affect seven in ten adults. There are some 270,000 heart attacks in the UK each year while around 2.1 million people have experienced angina, the chest pain that is the main symptom of coronary heart disease.