Established research shows that cranberry juice can help to ward off urinary tract infections. But there is emerging evidence to demonstrate the fruit's positive effect on heart health too.
A new study, presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Society's Annual Congress in Calgary, showed that the cranberry improves circulation by increasing the level of HDL, or good cholesterol and acting as a powerful antioxidant.
The 12-week study, looked at 30 men, aged 18 to 70 who were slightly overweight, had an elevated LDL level and were not taking medication. After taking Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Cocktail HDL cholesterol rose by 8 per cent.
"We found that by consuming a daily glass of light cranberry juice, the good cholesterol found in blood increased," said Dr Charles Couillard, lead researcher of the study and member of the Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods of Laval University.
"An increase in HDL cholesterol is a sign that the arteries are clearing up of the accumulated cholesterol, which is positive for heart health," Dr Couillard added.
Last year researchers reported on similar findings from a small study on 19 subjects with high cholesterol. Good cholesterol levels rose by an average 10 per cent.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, according to the World Health Organisation