Eating Cranberries Daily Improves Cardiovascular Health

A new clinical trial found daily consumption of cranberries for one month improved cardiovascular function in healthy men. The new study, published on March 22, 2022, in Food & Function, included 45 healthy men who consumed whole cranberry powder equivalent to 100g of fresh cranberries per day (9 g powder) or a placebo for one month. Those consuming cranberry had a significant improvement in flow-mediated dilation (FMD), which signals improvement of heart and blood vessel function. FMD is considered a sensitive biomarker of cardiovascular disease risk and measures how blood vessels widen when blood flow increases.

Dr. Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London and senior author of the study, said: “The increases in polyphenols and metabolites in the bloodstream and the related improvements in flow-mediated dilation after cranberry consumption emphasize the important role cranberries may play in cardiovascular disease prevention. The fact that these improvements in cardiovascular health were seen with an amount of cranberries that can be reasonably consumed daily makes cranberry an important fruit in the prevention of cardiovascular disease for the general public.”

Low consumption of fruits and vegetables is one of the top modifiable risk factors associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease worldwide. Growing evidence continues to link the polyphenols from berries with heart health benefits. Cranberries are rich in unique proanthocyanidins that have distinct properties compared to polyphenols found in other fruits.

This study explored whole cranberry freeze-dried powder, equivalent to 100g of fresh cranberries, and its impact on cardiovascular health. The results demonstrated that consumption of cranberries as part of a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood vessel function.

An initial pilot study was completed with five healthy young men to confirm the biological activity of the whole cranberry freeze-dried powder. The pilot concluded that cranberry consumption increased FMD and confirmed dosing. The main study was a gold standard study design examining 45 healthy men each consuming two packets of whole cranberry freeze-dried powder equivalent to 100g of fresh cranberries, or a placebo, daily for one month. The study found significant improvements in FMD two hours after first consumption and after one month of daily consumption showing both immediate and chronic benefit. In addition, metabolites were also identified and predicted the positive effects seen in FMD. These results conclude that cranberries can play an important role in supporting cardiovascular health and good blood vessel function.

Dr. Christian Heiss, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Surrey and co-author of the study said: “Our findings provide solid evidence that cranberries can significantly affect vascular health even in people with low cardiovascular risk. This study further indicates that specific metabolites present in blood after cranberry consumption are related to the beneficial effects.”

Reference: “Daily consumption of cranberry improves endothelial function in healthy adults: a double blind randomized controlled trial” by Christian Heiss, Geoffrey Istas, Rodrigo P. Feliciano, Timon Weber, Brian Wang, Claudia Favari, Pedro Mena, Daniele Del Rio and Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, 22 March 2022, Food & Function.
DOI: 10.1039/D2FO00080F

The study was supported by The Cranberry Institute, the Research Committee of the Medical Faculty of Heinrich-Heine University Dusseldorf and a Susanne Bunnenberg Heart Foundation grant to Dusseldorf Heart Centre. For more information about the Cranberry Institute, along with the health benefits of cranberries and current scientific research.

Unions Welcome New Health Funding

Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, made the following statement today on the announcement of $2 billion in new health care funding:

“Canada’s unions welcome today’s announcement of new funding to strengthen public health care, including to address backlogs that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. This new funding will be critical to helping provinces improve access to primary care and bolster mental health, long-term care, and home care.

“We also welcome new investment in better health data, which is a vital part of governments working together to start addressing the health care worker shortage.

“This is an important step forward and a clear sign of the benefits Canadians are going to see from the Liberal-NDP Confidence-and-Supply Agreement.

“But to preserve and protect our public system in the long run, and fight creeping privatization, we need permanent, accountable and consistent increased federal funding through the Canada Health Transfer. Working together with health workers, governments can build a stronger and more resilient public health care system – and make sure that future generations of Canadians have access to the health care they need.

“Canada’s unions have long said that our democracy works best when Parliamentarians work together and today’s announcement is a clear sign of how we all benefit when parties put people before partisanship.”

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