Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) are a rich source of polyphenols—chemical compounds that have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimutagen (which prevents gene mutation), antioxidant, cancer and tumor-fighting properties.(1)
The polyphenols found in cranberries also reduce the risk of heart disease by increasing the resistance of LDL (bad cholesterol) to oxidation, stopping the platelets from sticking together and reducing blood pressure.(2) Cranberries are also a known remedy for reducing urinary tract infections.
Cranberries For Diabetes
Cranberry juice can reduce the side effects of diabetes and improve the quality of life for diabetics. They are an excellent source of blood-pressure-lowering vitamin C. A study found that more than one-half of the subjects had good control of blood glucose levels.(3)
Anthocyanins present in cranberries improve pancreatic β-cell response to blood glucose, thus improving blood sugar levels.(4) Animal studies too have found that cranberry powder or cranberry-derived flavonoids improve insulin sensitivity and lower sugar levels in models of diabetes mellitus.(5,6)
How To Take It
1. Drink one cup of unsweetened cranberry juice twice a day for 12 weeks to notice an improvement in blood sugar levels. You can buy unsweetened cranberry juice here.
2. Alternatively, cranberry supplements can be taken twice a day for at least 10 weeks. Buy cranberry supplements here.
1. Côté J, Caillet S, Doyon G, Sylvain JF, Lacroix M. Bioactive compounds in cranberries and their biological properties. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Aug;50(7):666-79. doi: 10.1080/10408390903044107. Review. PubMed PMID: 20694928.
2. McKay DL, Blumberg JB. Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Nutr Rev. 2007 Nov;65(11):490-502. Review. PubMed PMID: 18038941.
3. Chambers BK, Camire ME. Can cranberry supplementation benefit adults with type 2 diabetes? Diabetes Care. 2003 Sep;26(9):2695-6. PubMed PMID: 12941742.
4. Zhu Y, Xia M, Yang Y, Liu F, Li Z, Hao Y, Mi M, Jin T, Ling W. Purified anthocyanin supplementation improves endothelial function via NO-cGMP activation in hypercholesterolemic individuals. Clin Chem. 2011 Nov;57(11):1524-33. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2011.167361. Epub 2011 Sep 16. PubMed PMID: 21926181.
5. Khanal RC, Rogers TJ, Wilkes SE, Howard LR, Prior RL. Effects of dietary consumption of cranberry powder on metabolic parameters in growing rats fed high fructose diets. Food Funct. 2010 Oct;1(1):116-23. doi: 10.1039/c0fo00089b. Epub 2010 Sep 22. PubMed PMID: 21776462.
6. Shabrova EV, Tarnopolsky O, Singh AP, Plutzky J, Vorsa N, Quadro L. Insights into the molecular mechanisms of the anti-atherogenic actions of flavonoids in normal and obese mice. PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e24634. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024634. Epub 2011 Oct 10. PubMed PMID: 22016761; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3189911.