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Fruit Juice May Be Superior Than Fruit To Prevent Heart Disease

Posted Oct 29 2008 2:09am
Fruit and vegetables should form part of everyday’s diet if one wishes to prevent heart disease and maintain a healthy body. Yet, most of the health experts would advise us not to take fruit juice because it may cause a person to gain weight.

However, a recent study by French researchers from the Universite Montpellier reported in May 2008 that grapes, apples and their juices could prevent atherosclerosis being developed in hamsters eating a high-fat diet, high-cholesterol diet.

The term atherosclerosis refers to buildup of fatty plaque deposits in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks or stroke.

The study found that fruit juices had a more powerful anti-atherosclerotic effect than the fruit itself. This is probably the first time that processing fruits can have a major impact on its health benefits.

In the study, hamsters were fed with grapes, grape juice, apples, apple juices or water, along with a diet designed to promote atherosclerosis. The aim is to investigate how juice might influence the content of phenolic compounds, which are powerful antioxidants contained in fruits. Meanwhile, a control group of animals ate normal chow.

The hamsters, which were fed with fruits, had the amount equivalent to 3 apples or 3 bunches of grapes daily for a human, while the amount of juice given to another group of hamsters was equivalent to 4 glasses daily for a person weighing 70 kilos.

The researchers noted that apples and grapes had roughly the same phenol content but the purple grape juice had 2.5 times more phenols than apple juice.

When comparing with hamsters given water, those consumed fruit or fruit juice had lower cholesterol levels, less oxidative stress, and less fat accumulation in their aorta (the main vessel supplying oxygenated blood to the body). In terms of health effects, purple grape fruit rank high, followed by purple grapes, apple juices and apples.

According to the researchers, while the amounts of phenols contained in a food have a direct effect on its antioxidant properties, other antioxidant compounds in the fruits such as Vitamin C, carotenoids could also contribute to their effects. Such findings do provide encouragement that fruit and fruit juice may have significant clinical and public health relevance.
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