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Heart-Healthy Cranberries

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Heart-Healthy Cranberries

The tart little berries have big benefits

Raise a glass—or two! It turns out two cups of cranberry juice a day could be good for your heart.

You may reach for cranberry juice to protect against urinary tract infections, though recent research finds the juice’s protection against UTIs is more fiction that fact. Juice and supplements don’t contain enough of the active ingredient—A-type proanthocyanidins, which give the berries their vibrant color—to keep bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract.

But research shows the little red fruit contains an array of phytonutrients with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may protect the circulatory system and reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis. Other research found that cranberries contain high concentrations of flavonoids, which promote circulation. And the phenols in cranberries may help prevent the formation of blood clots that cause strokes.

Experts suggest you eat whole cranberries—fresh and dried—as well as drink the juice to maximize the phytonutrients’ benefits. If you choose to drink your berries, keep in mind that pure cranberry juice can be pretty tart, so many juices contain a mixture of cranberries, sweeteners and vitamin C.

“Cranberry beverages may be inappropriately associated with contributing to increased weight or diabetes risk,” said Kiyah J. Duffey, Ph.D., lead researcher on a study from earlier this year. “Mounting evidence suggests quite the opposite. Packed with polyphenols, like flavonoids, cranberry juice may contribute to improved cardiovascular health.”

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BHM Edit Staff