RESEARCH: CRANBERRIES AND HUMAN HEALTH
Takeaways from the Cranberry Health Research Conference (CHRC)
On October 12, 2015, the Cranberry Institute held a one-day, Cranberry Health Research Conference (CHRC) preceding the Berry Health Benefits Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin. Chaired by Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg, of Tufts University's Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the one-day event brought together a select group of researchers, industry professionals and health influencers to present current research and foster rigorous dialogue. The aim was to integrate knowledge of cranberry health benefits across disciplines and identify critical gaps to be addressed by future research. While each presenter took a deep dive into their topic, here are the key takeaways from each presentation.
Freeze-dried whole cranberry powder: An overview of development, applications and communications directed at elucidating mechanisms of action for cranberry health benefits
Presented by Christian Krueger, Complete Phytochemical Solutions, LLC and University of Wisconsin - Madison
- Scientists have made substantial progress in developing and testing a standardized freeze-dried whole cranberry powder with comparable polyphenolic content and biologic efficacy to other cranberry products.
- The cranberry powder may be used to elucidate the mechanisms of actions of cranberry components and explore new areas of cranberry health research.
Functional and versatile cranberry ingredients
Presented by Mary Ann Lila, PhD, North Carolina State University
- Mounting evidence has validated the roles of cranberry active plant compounds in human health maintenance, especially antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic/cardiovascular benefits.
- Researchers are investigating innovations that may allow for a cranberry-polyphenol enriched food, e.g., a dry ingredient, to provide the consumer more ways to consume the active compounds in cranberries.
Effects of cranberry proanthocyanidins on gram negative bacteria: Implications for gut health and chronic inflammatory disease
Presented by Jess Reed, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison
- Research shows that a high fat diet can contribute to gut dysfunction that can cause inflammation and increase susceptibility to bacterial invasions. Together, this can have a negative impact on gut health and lower the body’s natural gut protection.
- Recent research has shown that the polyphenols in cranberries may help protect against the negative effects of a high fat diet and help maintain gut health.
Cranberry Bioactives: Teaming Up Against Infection
Presented by Catherine Neto, PhD, University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth
- While the role of proanthocyanidins (PACs) in bacterial anti-adhesion in the urinary tract has been characterized in cranberry health research, scientists are beginning to explore the synergistic effects of the myriad of naturally-occurring compounds found in cranberries.
- The mechanisms of action have yet to be explained, but recent studies have produced promising results examining the role of cranberries in fighting multiple types of infection.
Intake and time-dependent effects of cranberry polyphenol consumption in vascular function in healthy individuals
Presented by Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, PhD, University Dusseldorf
- Researchers uncovered a potent dose-dependent relationship between cranberry juice and improved vascular function.
- Because vascular dysfunction or limitations in blood flow are a central feature in the development of atherosclerosis – improving vascular function can have a powerful, beneficial effect on a person’s cardiovascular health.
The influence of cranberry juice on cardiometabolic risk
Presented by Janet Novotny, PhD, US Department of Agriculture
- Many studies have demonstrated positive effects of cranberry products on cardiometabolic health, while numerous studies remain inconclusive due to variations in the study design, e.g., type of cranberry products tested and variability in dietary habits of the participants.
- Nonetheless, the number of intervention studies demonstrating positive effects of cranberry products on factors related to cardiometabolic health indicates the value of inclusion of cranberry products, and likely other polyphenol-rich products, in the diet.
Cranberries and type 2 diabetes: Novel and promising horizons
Presented by Arpita Basu, PhD, RD, Oklahoma State University
- Recent trials with clinical outcomes associated with cranberry juice intervention hold promise in the management of diabetic high blood glucose, dyslipidemia, oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Studies in experimental animals and in vitro models have further shown that polyphenols, the most abundant category of phytochemicals in cranberries, can influence carbohydrate metabolism in many ways, such as helping to control postprandial and fasting blood glucose for those with diabetes.
MEET THE CRANBERRY BOG BLOGGER
Danielle Omar is a Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Consultant, Founder of FoodConfidence.com, and contributor to recipe blog, Healthy Aperture. Danielle loves incorporating cranberries into unique recipes, “It's hard to choose a favorite way to eat dried cranberries, since I use them in so many dishes! If I HAD to choose, I would say my favorite way to eat them is in my oatmeal. I love the tangy sweet flavor they add to the oats!” You can read one of her Bog Blogger posts here…
Danielle’s focus is on helping men and women find the path to confidently managing their own lifestyle transitions, reaching not only their weight and wellness goals, but also embracing a new way of looking at food and nutrition. Beyond her client work, she serves as the Marketing Committee Chairperson with Dietitians in Integrative & Functional Medicine, and Chair of the Council on Practice for the Northern Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Are you a Registered Dietitian with a blog? If you’d like to become a Cranberry Bog Blogger and receive additional cranberry health information, recipes and usage ideas to share with your readers, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Leftovers never tasted so good—wow friends and family this year with a delicious way to use up the best of extra Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving!) dishes.
Cranberry & Turkey Stuffing Casserole
Yield: 6 – 1 cup servings
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
¾ cup minced yellow onion
¾ cup minced celery
½ tsp. poultry seasoning
⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
¾ cup low-fat, reduced sodium chicken broth
3 cups (approx. 6 oz.) whole grain bread, cut into 1-in. pieces
12 oz. cooked, diced turkey
1 cup prepared turkey gravy
1 ½ cups cranberry sauce
Steamed broccoli spears, optional
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onions and celery and cook 2 minutes. Mix in poultry seasoning and pepper and continue to cook 30 seconds. Pour in hot broth and heat through.
- Stir in bread pieces and mix to combine. Cook until stuffing mixture is moist and heated through. Remove from heat and hold.
- Combine turkey and gravy and spread evenly in the bottom of a 2-qt casserole dish. Next, spoon half of the cranberry sauce (¾ cup) on top of the turkey-gravy layer. Gently spread the reserved stuffing mixture evenly on top of cranberry sauce.
- Bake in a 350°F oven for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and firm. Top will be slightly crunchy.
- Scoop a 1-cup portion of casserole onto a plate and serve with an additional 2 Tbsp. of cranberry sauce on the side. Serve with steamed broccoli, if desired.
Nutrition Information Per Serving*: Calories 320, Calories from Fat 45, Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 5g, Cholesterol 45mg, Sodium 460mg, Total Carbohydrate 43g, Sugars 26g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 22g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 8%, Iron 8%
*Nutrition analysis excludes optional broccoli
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