Low-calorie cranberry juice may aid blood pressure lowering efforts

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Regular consumption of low-calorie cranberry juice could help to control blood pressure, according to new research.

The study measured the effects of drinking low-calorie cranberry juice (or a placebo) for eight weeks as part of a controlled diet. The findings – presented in a poster at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions – reveal that those drinking the low-calorie cranberry product had significantly lower blood pressure (BP) values than those consuming the placebo.

Led by Dr Janet Novotny from the US Department of Agriculture, and backed by funding from Ocean Spray, the researchers gave low-calorie cranberry juice or a matched placebo beverage to 56 adult volunteers, diet for eight weeks.

The team found that BP values dropped from an average of 121/73 mmHg to 118/70 mmHg for those drinking the low-calorie cranberry juice. The placebo group showed no change.

“Cranberry juice is rich in phenolic compounds, whether sweetened with sugar or with an artificial sweetener, therefore I would expect regular cranberry juice and low calorie cranberry juice to convey similar health benefits,”​ said Novotny.

However, the lead researcher added: “Cranberries are quite sour tasting, so they really do need to be sweetened to make them palatable, and full-calorie cranberry juice can be quite high in added sugars."

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