Heart disease effects many of us in the UK, more so than in many other countries, but there is a strong possibility that this could be changed simply by changing our attitude towards food and consuming more juice.

The term ‘heart disease’ includes several conditions such from Congenital heart defects seen at birth to atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) that develop later. It is a complex issue with several inter-related factors. Hardening of the arteries and angina are a result of the inner walls of the bodies arteries narrowing due to a build up of plaque (fat, LDL cholesterol and other substances). Plaque build up is increased in people who have high levels LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels HDL (good) cholesterol. Oxidation of excess LDL cholesterol results in an increase of plaque. The HDL cholesterol helps to prevent the LDL cholesterol from increasing the plaque, moving it instead to the liver. Plaque build up alone may be enough to cause pain (angina) or heart attack. However, if the plaque is ruptured or torn it can block the artery causing a coronary thrombosis (heart attack). Atherosclerosis can also be caused by inappropriate platelet activation causing the platelets in the blood to clot.

Grape Juice inhibits Atherosclerosis

Many of us will have seen news items claiming red wine helps to keep our hearts healthy. This is due to a substance in the grapes that used to make the wine known as polyphenols. However, recent tests have shown that although less polyphenols are present in grape juice than red wine, grape juice is better at inhibiting atherosclerosis [1]. Purple Grape juice has also been found to help patients with coronary artery disease due to significantly improving the function of the cells (endothelial) lining the hardened arteries as well inhibiting inappropriate platelet activation [2]. Purple grape juice’s action as a potent platelet inhibitor is important as Platelets are involved in the development of Atherosclerosis [3]. Other research has shown grape seed proanthocyanidin extracts reducing Atherosclerosis by up to 50% in animals. [4] Although that study was for grape seed extract alone, other studies have shown that the combination of grape seed extract and grape skin, as you would find in the juice, is more effective [5].

Fruit Juices Reduce Cholesterol

Pomegranate juice also offers wide protection against cardiovascular diseases6 and has been shown to reduce cholesterol build up in plaque [7] and reduce the development of atherosclerosis [8].

In laboratory tests orange juice has been found to lower cholesterol and significantly inhibit atherosclerosis [9]. A 750ml serving of orange juice daily has been shown to decreased the LDL-HDL cholesterol ratio by 16% in tests on people [10]. Tests on smokers has shown that carrot and orange juice combined significantly susceptibility of LDL to oxidation [11] (the process that increases plaque).

As little as 330 mL of tomato juice [12] has also been shown to significantly reduce LDL oxidation [13]

Adding garlic to vegetable juices takes some getting used to, but garlic has also been shown to decrease bad LDL cholesterol while increase HDL cholesterol [14] as well as reducing LDL oxidation [15].

Plant sterols and stanols found in high quantities in veg like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower16 have been found to reduce LDL cholesterol [17]. One report says around 2g per day of plant sterol ester can decrease LDL cholesterol levels from 9% to 20% [18]

Ginger has also been shown to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol and abnormal cell tissues (Aortic atherosclerotic lesion) [19] in the arteries around the heart.

With so much evidence proving the benefits of fruit and vegetable juices why on earth would we not want to include them in our diet?

Scientific Sources-
1 Atherosclerosis. 2001 May;156(1):67-72. Red wine, dealcoholized red wine, and especially grape juice, inhibit atherosclerosis in a hamster model. Vinson JA, Teufel K, Wu N. Department of Chemistry, University of Scranton, Linden and Monroe Streets,

2 Adv Exp Med Biol. 2002;505:95-111. Potential health benefits from the flavonoids in grape products on vascular disease. Folts JD. Coronary Thrombosis Research Laboratory, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, USA.

3 J Nutr. 2000 Jan;130(1):53-6. Grape juice, but not orange juice or grapefruit juice, inhibits human platelet aggregation. Keevil JG, Osman HE, Reed JD, Folts JD. Cardiology Section of Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison,
WI 53792, USA.

4 ol Cell Biochem. 2002 Nov;240(1-2):99-103. Beneficial effects of a novel IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract and a niacin-bound chromium in a hamster atherosclerosis model. Vinson JA, Mandarano MA, Shuta DL, Bagchi M, Bagchi D. Department of Chemistry, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, USA.

5 J Nutr. 2002 Dec;132(12):3592-8. Grape seed and grape skin extracts elicit a greater antiplatelet effect when used in combination than when used individually in dogs and humans. Shanmuganayagam D, Beahm MR, Osman HE, Krueger CG, Reed JD, Folts JD. Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53792,
USA.

6 Atherosclerosis. 2001 Sep;158(1):195-8. Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme
activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Aviram M, Dornfeld L. The Lipid Research Laboratory, Technion Faculty of Medicine, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, 31096 Haifa, Israel.

7 J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Sep;16(9):570-6. Pomegranate juice inhibits oxidized LDL uptake and cholesterol biosynthesis in macrophages. Fuhrman B, Volkova N, Aviram M. Lipid Research Laboratory, Technion Faculty of Medicine, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa 31096, Israel.

8 J Nutr. 2001 Aug;131(8):2082-9. Pomegranate juice supplementation to atherosclerotic mice reduces macrophage lipid peroxidation, cellular cholesterol accumulation and development of atherosclerosis.
Kaplan M, Hayek T, Raz A, Coleman R, Dornfeld L, Vaya J, Aviram M.
The Lipid Research Laboratory, Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences and Rambam Medical Center, Haifa 31096, Israel.

9 Adv Exp Med Biol. 2002;505:113-22. Polyphenol antioxidants in citrus juices: in vitro and in vivo studies relevant to heart disease. Vinson JA, Liang X, Proch J, Hontz BA, Dancel J, Sandone N. Department of Chemistry, University of Scranton, PA 18510-4626, USA.

10 Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Nov;72(5):1095-100. HDL-cholesterol-raising effect of orange juice in subjects with hypercholesterolemia. Kurowska EM, Spence JD, Jordan J, Wetmore S, Freeman DJ, Piche LA, Serratore P. Departments of Biochemistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

11 Clin Chem. 2000 Nov;46(11):1818-29. Influence of increased fruit and vegetable intake on plasma and lipoprotein carotenoids and LDL oxidation in smokers and nonsmokers. Chopra M, O’Neill ME, Keogh N, Wortley G, Southon S, Thurnham DI. Northern Ireland Centre for Diet and Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland BT52 1SA, United Kingdom.

12 J Nutr. 2000 Sep;130(9):2200-6. Moderate intervention with carotenoid-rich vegetable products reduces lipid peroxidation in men. Bub A, Watzl B, Abrahamse L, Delincee H, Adam S, Wever J, Muller H, Rechkemmer G. Institute of Nutritional Physiology, Federal Research Centre for Nutrition, D-76131 Karlsruhe, Germany.

13 Lipids. 1998 Oct;33(10):981-4. Tomato lycopene and low density lipoprotein oxidation: a human dietary intervention study. Agarwal S, Rao AV. Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

14 J Nutr. 2001 Mar;131(3s):994S-9S. Study of garlic extracts and fractions on cholesterol plasma levels and vascular reactivity in cholesterol-fed rats. Slowing K, Ganado P, Sanz M, Ruiz E, Tejerina T. Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Complutense University, 28040 Madrid, Spain.

15 J Nutr. 2001 Mar;131(3s):985S-8S. Suppression of LDL oxidation by garlic. Lau BH. Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA.

16 Curr Opin Lipidol. 2000 Dec;11(6):571-6. Therapeutic potential of plant sterols and stanols. Plat J, Kerckhoffs DA, Mensink RP. Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

17 Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jan;75(1):79-86. An increase in dietary carotenoids when consuming plant sterols or stanols is
effective in maintaining plasma carotenoid concentrations. Noakes M, Clifton P, Ntanios F, Shrapnel W, Record I, McInerney J. CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition, Adelaide, Australia.

18 Circulation. 2001 Feb 27;103(8):1177-9. AHA Science Advisory. Stanol/sterol ester-containing foods and blood cholesterol
levels. A statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association. Lichtenstein AH, Deckelbaum RJ.

19 J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5):1124-31. Ginger extract consumption reduces plasma cholesterol, inhibits LDL oxidation and attenuates development of atherosclerosis in atherosclerotic, apolipoprotein
E-deficient mice. Fuhrman B, Rosenblat M, Hayek T, Coleman R, Aviram M. Lipid Research Laboratory, Technion Faculty of Medicine, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences and Rambam Medical Center, Haifa,
Israel.

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Comments

  1. I just wondered if atherosclerosis in the extremities (arms/legs) also has hypertension as a symptom. I know this is one clue to cardio-athersclerosis, but is this true of cases in the arms/legs and blockages leading to strokes?

  2. I know atherosclerosis is the build of fat in arteries which becomes hard and MS is the the degeneration of the myelin sheath in nerve cells. Just wondering because the both have sclerosis in their names?

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  4. healthtips says:

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