Typically cranberry juice is thought of as a home health remedy to treat urinary tract infections (UTI’s). Some recent research indicates cranberry juice may also promote lower blood pressure levels.
Let me begin by stating these study results are preliminary. More research needs to be conducted. The study, funded by Ocean Spray Cranberries, was published as an abstract and the results have not yet been peer-reviewed and published in a journal. Results were reported at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Washington, DC.
Placebo Controlled Study
The study was led by Janet Novotney, MD of the US Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland. During the eight week study, the 56 study participants drank either an 8-ounce glass of low-calorie sweetened placebo drink or an 8-ounce low-calorie cranberry juice twice a day. The diet of participants was controlled to maintain body weight during the 8 week trial. The research center provided meals to reduce variation among participants dietary intake. This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. . .meaning neither the participant nor the researcher knew which participant was really receiving cranberry juice versus a sweetened placebo drink.
Cranberry Juice Leads to Decrease in Blood Pressure
After eight weeks, participants drinking cranberry juice had an average decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 3 mm Hg each. Participants receiving the placebo experienced no decrease in blood pressure. Researchers point out this 3 mm Hg drop in BOTH systolic and diastolic blood pressure is relevant since most food intervention studies result in a decrease in systolic blood pressure, but not diastolic.
Researchers state that the use of “low-calorie” cranberry juice is important to note. Regular cranberry juice tends to be high in calories and added sugar. The added sugar is often needed to make the tart berries more palatable. Cranberries provide a wide variety of natural plant flavonoids that are connected to reduced heart disease risk.
Cranberry Juice in Your Diet
A decrease of 3 mm Hg is not a large drop, but it is a decrease. Also, remember the study results are preliminary and participant numbers of only 56 is pretty low. However, if you are working to lower blood pressure, adding low-calorie cranberry juice to your diet may be a healthy addition to promote a lower blood pressure. . .as well as urinary tract health. Particularly if you use the cranberry juice to replace less healthy beverage choices.
Be sure to sign up for the free ecourse “7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure” at http://lowerbloodpressurewithlisa.com.