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Posted: June 03, 2008

Drink Grape, Apple Juice to Prevent Clogged Arteries: Study

Those sweet juices of the season – grape and apple – may provide us with a natural shield from developing clogged arteries, scientists say.

French researchers studied hamsters that were fed apples, purple grapes, apple juice, grape juice or water, along with a fatty diet. At the end, they discovered that those rodents who consumed grape juice had the lowest probability of developing clogged arteries.

 

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The research, which was conducted by scientists from the University of Montpellier, determined that the benefits derived from the juice’s high levels of antioxidant phenols.

 

While medical experts have long said that antioxidants in various foods are beneficial to heart health, most research arriving at that conclusion focused on raw fruit. Instead, the French team, led by Kelly Decorde of Montpellier, examined how juicing affected the fruit’s phenol content. 

 

Then they studied how the consumption of different fruits affected the hamsters' risk of atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty plaque deposits in arteries that can lead to stroke or heart attack.

 

The amount of fruit the hamsters consumed was the human-equivalent of three apples or three bunches of grapes per day.  Hamsters given juice drank the human-equivalent of four glasses per day for a person weighing 154 pounds.

 

The grapes and apples had roughly the same phenol content, while the purple grape juice had two and a half times more phenols than apple juice.

 

Compared with hamsters that were given water, those who consumed fruit or fruit juice had less oxidative stress, lower cholesterol levels and less fat accumulation in their aorta, the primary vessel that pumps oxygenated blood throughout the body.

 

The researchers found that purple grape juice had the strongest effect, followed by purple grapes, apple juice and apples.

 

The French team stressed that the amount of phenols in food has an unmistakable and direct effect on its antioxidant properties. The other antioxidant compounds present in the tested fruits, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, may also contribute to their positive health effects, the researchers added.

 

The findings were published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

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