Cranberry Juice Cuts Risk of Stroke, Heart Disease and Diabetes [PHOTOS]

Jul 02, 2015 08:00 AM EDT | By Kathleen Nava

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A study has shown that cranberry juice could help protect people against heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) tested for benefits of its high levels of polyphenols, which help protect the body.

"Luckily for us, a rich source of polyphenols is only a glass of cranberry juice away," said Christina Khoo, director of Research Sciences at Ocean Spray. "Among the commonly consumed fruits in our diets, cranberries boast some of the highest levels of polyphenols - more than apples, blueberries, grapes or cherries."

Cranberry juice is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and salicylic acid. By containing only 45 calories per cup, cranberry juice fits very well within most dietary guidelines.

The latest study reveals that drinking low-calorie cranberry juice cocktail may help lower the risk of chronic diseases that rank among the leading causes of death worldwide, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

"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 Dr. Khoo.

"These findings suggest that polyphenols help to protect our bodies, and may be adept at keeping a large number of ailments at bay," he added.

Cranberry juice is best known for beating off urinary tract infections (UTIs), but its healing powers do not stop there.

The tart juice appears to promote cardiovascular health, and compounds in cranberries can even increase the effectiveness of certain ovarian cancer drugs.

Unsweetened cranberry juice tastes slightly sour, but for medicinal purposes, 2 ounces of cranberry juice diluted in 8 ounces of water is recommended.

It is very good for overall health as it is able to strengthen the immune system and help relieve stress. The mixtures also works well for skin conditions like acne.

But cranberry juice also has its down side. The powerful juice, not to be confused with the cranberry juice cocktail, isn't as sugary as other fruit juices, but its high acidity can sometimes contribute to bladder problems besides UTIs.

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