Study suggests cranberries may increase lifespan

Posted Aug. 10, 2012 under Healthy Senior Living and Nutrition

Drinking a glass of cranberry juice in the morning may be the key to healthy aging, new research says. A recent study from the American Aging Association suggests that cranberries may hold the key to longevity.

The findings are not the first touting the potential health benefits of cranberries, but they are perhaps the most significant. Previous research found that cranberry extract (CBE) increased the lifespan of fruit flies, but scientists wanted to see if it held similar benefits in other animals. To test their hypothesis, they targeted C elegans nematodes. They found that once again, CBE increased the subjects' lifespan in a dose-dependent manner.

"Our study highlights the prolongevity and stress resistance properties of CBE and reveals the molecular mechanisms by which CBE modulates lifespan and stress response in C. elegans," the researchers wrote. "Although health benefits of CBE have been studied for many years, our study is the first to thoroughly investigate the properties of CBE on longevity and stress response."

Although the results shed light on the benefits of cranberries, it is certainly not the only food known for its lifespan-boosting qualities. Similar foods, such as blueberries and blackberries, are excellent sources of certain antioxidant compounds that can slow the growth of cancer, improve brain health and strengthen bones.

Of course, foods in the berry family are not the only ones with ties to longevity, nuts have many benefits as well. Specifically, almonds can serve as an anti-inflammatory food thanks to their high levels of vitamin E. Additionally, walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat, both of which offer a number of health benefits.