Dr. Charles Couillard, Laval University, studied the cranberry. It contains antioxidants may be beneficial for the heart!

Dr. Charles Couillard, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Laval University, is researching the cranberry. We already know that cranberries may help prevent UTIs. But there’s more: the antioxidant properties of this small berry could be beneficial for heart health!

Antioxidants in cranberries: enemies of free radicals

Antioxidants are found mainly in fruits and vegetables, red wine, tea and dark chocolate. We often hear nutritionists and scientists say that antioxidants help prevent cancer and that is why we should eat more. So we know we should eat foods that contain antioxidants, but do we know what are they and what are they? Antioxidants are molecules that act as a defense system for our body. Who are they attacking? Free radicals, highly unstable molecules on the chemical. They seek to react with other molecules, thereby damaging the cells and tissues. Free radicals are sort of waste produced when cells breathe and extract energy from food. The role of antioxidants is to bind to free radicals to prevent them from combining with oxygen, a process largely responsible for premature aging. Thus, by eating plenty of foods rich in antioxidants, you’ll look younger longer!

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Many benefits for a small fruit

The cranberry, a fruit richest in antioxidants, may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, a clogging of arteries by cholesterol. Atherosclerosis occurs when too much LDL cholesterol, often called “bad” cholesterol builds up in artery walls, the result of excessive oxidation by free radicals. Antioxidants will prevent this oxidation, which could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study by Dr. Couillard was performed on 30 men who had overweight at the time of the study. Half of them had to drink cranberry juice without sugar for 3 months, and the other half had to drink a placebo. The doctor observed that a portion of 250 ml of cranberry juice significantly increased HDL cholesterol, often called “good” cholesterol. Although the latest study by Dr. Couillard reveals the potential of cranberry to increase HDL and decrease LDL cholesterol levels, further studies are needed to determine whether antioxidants can actually prevent heart disease . That would make you another reason to drink more cranberry juice!