Health has a sour taste, with sweet notes, and a ruby red color, the taste and color of cranberry. In fact, as shown by three very recent scientific researches, the cranberry counteracts hepatic steatosis, or fatty liver, and improves the lipid profile in the blood (Shirazi et al, BMC Complement Med Ther, 2021), protects the brain from neurodegeneration (Witucki et al, Nutrients, 2022) and improves vascular health (Heiss et al, Food Funct, 2022).
Cranberry against fatty liver and high cholesterol
The first study analyzed the effects of cranberry in case of fatty liver. 110 adults were recruited for this purpose, all with a diagnosis of fatty liver. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to take 144 mg of cranberry extract for 6 months. The second group took a placebo. At the end of 6 months, those who had taken the cranberry had a significant reduction in total cholesterol and triglycerides, insulin resistance had decreased as well as levels of hepatic steatosis.
Cranberry is neuroprotective
Cranberry juice is rich in polyphenols with a powerful antioxidant action. However, until now, the possible neuroprotective action of the cranberry had never been investigated. The second study tried to shed some light on this aspect. First, it was observed that cranberry juice counteracts oxidative stress in various organs of the body, with the greatest effect in the brain. Not only that, it has been observed that the intake of cranberry juice helps to counteract and prevent Parkinson's disease by reducing the accumulation of a protein, alpha synuclein. Accumulations of alpha synuclein in the brain are toxic as they hinder normal communication between neurons and are considered the hallmark of Parkinson's. Not only that, cranberry juice has improved neuronal survival and body stability, which is reduced in the case of Parkinson's. However, like everything, don't overdo it. In fact, although beneficial, if you take high doses of cranberry for long periods of time you could get an effect opposite to the neuroprotective one, although this aspect has yet to be evaluated.
The cranberry protects the heart and blood vessels
The latest study investigated the action of the cranberry on the health of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels and the heart. 45 volunteers were then recruited. Half of the study participants were asked to take 100 grams per day of frozen and thawed whole cranberries for one month. The other half of the volunteers took a placebo instead. Well, taking cranberry improved the elasticity of blood vessels and vascular function in general, both in the short term, two hours after taking it, and in the long term, after a month.
Thus, cranberries, taken both whole frozen and defrosted and in the form of juice, can be valid allies for the health of the liver, heart and brain. However, they must be included in a healthy and balanced diet and should be consumed, like any food, in moderation.