If you love fruits, you'd do well to include cranberries on the top of your must-have list. Because, according to a study, drinking low-calorie cranberry juice cocktail may help lower the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
The World Health Organisation estimates the trio of diseases annually claim 15.6 million lives around the globe. Cranberries provide a rich source of protective compounds -- called polyphenols -- that support our body's natural defences and help us achieve a balanced lifestyle to improve health.
To find the effectiveness of polyphenol-rich cranberries, researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided eight weeks' worth of meals to 56 healthy adult volunteers (average 50 years of age).
"At the start and end of the experiment, the researchers measured things like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, blood lipids, as well as C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation," said Christina Khoo, director of Research Sciences at Ocean Spray.
One group drank a glass of low-calorie cranberry juice twice daily. The other group drank a placebo beverage with a similar colour and flavour.
Individuals drinking two glasses of low-calorie cranberry juice a day improved across all these measures. It's a change that adds up, and could be associated with a 10% lower risk of heart disease and a 15% lower risk of stroke.
"These findings suggest that polyphenols help to protect our bodies, and may be adept at keeping a large number of ailments at bay," Khoo said.
The study appeared in the journal Journal of Nutrition.