The qualities of plants are largely attributable to their flavonoid content – a strong antioxidant that lowers inflammation, thereby warding off disease.
In boosting the immune defences, some fruits are better able to support longevity, but some more than others.
Cranberry is a good example of plants offering strong pro-longevity effects, due to its high concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids.
According to some researchers, the antioxidant properties of cranberries increase the levels of gamma delta T cells, which are involved in immune response, as well as virus-fighting cytokines.
In one study, published in the journal of Experimental Gerontology, researchers found that cranberry supplementation “significantly” extended the lifespan of fruit flies.
For their experiment, the team administered cranberry extract to flies at three different stages of their life.
“Cranberry supplementation during any of these life stages extended the remaining lifespan relative to the non-supplemented and life stage-matched controls,” noted the team.
“These findings suggest that cranberry supplementation is sufficient to promote longevity when implemented during any life stage, likely through reducing oxidative damage.”
Oxidative damage is one of the hallmarks of ageing, contributing to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin and degeneration of the body.
Longevity research to date revolves mainly around laboratory experiments on fruit flies or mice, with most studies on humans limited to observational methodology.
But of the existing studies on fruit flies to date, many have gathered promising evidence of the benefits of juice for longevity purposes.
In one laboratory experiment, researchers found cranberry to be particularly potent when it was combined with oregano extract.
“OC, an oregano and cranberry mixture, was found to extend the median life span of both males and females and the highest concentration tested,” observed the researchers.
“No significant extension was observed with other supplements.”
In a separate line of research, researchers have also sought to explore the effects of cranberries on cholesterol.
One study in the journal Diabetic Medicine explains that cranberry could lower LDL cholesterol significantly.
The study specifically set out to examine the effect of cranberry ingestion on lipid profile in Type 2 diabetic patients taking glucose-lowering drugs.
“Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased significantly in the cranberry group […]. The decrease was significantly greater than that in the placebo group,” the researchers noted.
Despite there being extensive evidence of the benefits of cranberry juice, it may be worth mentioning that being mindful of sugar content is imperative.
To reap the full benefits of cranberry juice, it’s important to stick to non-sugar-sweetened beverages.