Cranberry juice shown to have long term health benefits

CARINA DRUCE

Yves Desjardins IHC 2014. Photo: Kasun Ubayasiri

Yves Desjardins IHC 2014. Photo: Kasun Ubayasiri

Drinking cranberry juice may help prevent some of our biggest killers including heart disease, diabetes and cancer, new research suggests.

Quebec based Laval University, Professor Yves Desjardins told the International Horticultural Congress in Brisbane this week that all berries, and cranberries in particular, contain polyphenols, an organic compound that helps regulate the natural bacteria in our gut.

“The bacteria in our gut has to be moderated as a loss of balance in the gut microbiota is linked to health problems such as functional bowel disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, obesity, and diabetes,” he said.

“Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-adipogenic, anti-diabetic, and neuroprotective potentials.”

He said polyphenols occur naturally in fruits and vegetables and foods such as cereal, tea, coffee and wine.

Professor Desjardins explained that the polyphenols remain within the body for only  a very short time and are rapidly removed as the body recognizes them as foreign chemicals, but this didn’t hamper the health benefits of these compounds.

“In a study that we conducted, two rats were given what I like to call ‘the McDonalds diet’ which is high fat and high sucrose, with one receiving regular cranberry juice and we found that the rat that consumed the extra polyphenols showed no weight gain and upon dissection of the animals, it was shown that the internal organs, especially the liver were much healthier,” he said.

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