A Review of Nutrition Research Finds Cranberries Contain a Greater Concentration of Antioxidants than Other Fruit and Provide a Variety of Health Benefits – Including Heart Health
LAKEVILLE-MIDDLEBORO, Mass. (April 2008) – According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease remains the number one health threat affecting men and women in the United States today. Now, a recent review of scientific research suggests cranberries may offer a natural defense against the development of this dangerous disease, sweetening the berry’s appeal to health care facilities looking to offer patients appetizing yet functional meals.
The report, conducted at Tufts University, and published in Nutrition Reviews, suggest that cranberries offer a range of different benefits that work to promote cardiovascular health. These benefits include effects in lowering cholesterol as well as on blood pressure and the development of blood clots, both established risk factors for heart disease. Researchers postulate that cranberries’ high concentration of antioxidants may play a significant role in the fruit’s positive effect on health.
“Cranberries have long been recognized for their health benefits in the areas of urinary tract, gastrointestinal and oral health,” said Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FACN, CNS. “Now, after years of research in the cardiovascular area, cranberries also appear to play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.”
Several of the studies reviewed show that cranberry juice increased circulating levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol. In fact, one such study revealed that a daily serving of Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail provided an effect that was similar to what has been reported for red wine, a beverage that has been widely publicized for having a positive effect on cardiovascular health. The findings add to the list of known benefits associated with cranberries including their promotion of urinary tract, stomach, teeth and gum health.
“We have heard from foodservice professionals in the health care industry that the need to offer functional foods to their patrons is greater than ever,” noted Keith Benoit, Director of Special Markets at Ocean Spray. “And this research builds upon the growing list of health benefits associated with cranberries – which range from helping curb UTIs to promoting heart health.”
Ocean Spray also announced that its No-Thaw™ Juice Cups now come in Diet Cranberry Spray and Diet Citrus Spray [flavors]. No-Thaw Juice Cups are packed in a sterile, aseptic environment under strict microbiological guidelines and can be safely served in any clinical or residential setting; they require no freezer space, are quick and easy to chill, and are guaranteed not to leak. In addition, they’re stackable, easy to open and easy to hold.
“Ocean Spray is not only dedicated to offering quality, good-for-you products, we are committed to working with foodservice professionals to offer solutions that work for their patrons as well as their employees,” added Benoit.
More information on Ocean Spray’s foodservice offerings may be found at: www.oceansprayfoodservice.com.
Additional Insights on Cranberries’ Health Promoting Benefits
Cranberries are widely known for their “anti-adhesion” activity, which helps guard the body from certain harmful bacteria that cause UTIs stomach ulcers and gum disease. This anti-adhesion activity is primarily due to proanthocyanidins (PACs) found naturally in cranberries. Cranberry PACs, however, contain a unique A-type structure that is responsible for this anti-adhesion mechanism of action, while most other foods contain only the more-common B-type PACs.
Since cranberry PACs also function as antioxidants, they provide a dual anti-adhesion and antioxidant health benefit. With more PACs and antioxidants per gram than most fruit, cranberries ward off certain bacteria and bolster the body’s defenses against free radical damage that can contribute to many chronic diseases including heart disease.
About Ocean Spray
Ocean Spray is an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 650 cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and other parts of Canada as well as more than 100 Florida grapefruit growers. Ocean Spray was formed 75 years ago by three cranberry growers from Massachusetts and New Jersey. Florida grapefruit growers joined the Cooperative in 1976. Ocean Spray is North America’s leading producer of canned and bottled juices and juice drinks, and has been the best-selling brand name in the canned and bottled juice category since 1981. Ocean Spray posted posted fiscal 2006 gross revenues of roughly $1.5 billion.