Purple Grape Juice Helps the Heart
Purple grape juice can help fight heart disease, say researchers from the University of Wisconsin Medical School. They report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association that drinking purple grape juice daily for 14 days was enough to improve blood flow and reduce the rate at which their cholesterol oxidized.
John Folts, M.D., lead author of the study from the University of Wisconsin, says the importance of this study is that it shows purple grape juice has more benefits than simply making blood less likely to clot as was previously discovered. Dr. Folts says there are three main contributing factors to atherosclerosis, or the clogging of arteries.
They are stickiness of the blood, reduced flexibility of arteries and speed at which we oxidize LDL cholesterol. "In previous studies we say that drinking purple grape juice reduced blood stickiness. What this study suggests is that drinking the juice has a beneficial effect on two other primary contributors as well," says Dr. Folts.
The benefits of better flexibility of the arteries is if they can expand in response to increased blood flow, more oxygen can be delivered where it is needed. In people with coronary artery disease, blood vessels are less likely to expand in response to a need for increased blood flow, making heart attack or stroke more likely to result if there are blood clots present. Oxidation rate is an important factor because oxidized cholesterol contributes to the build-up of plaque in the arteries. The slower the onset of oxidation, the less likely oxidation will lead to atherosclerosis.
On the basis of these findings and previous studies, Dr. Fonts concludes, "It makes sense to include daily consumption of purple grape juice as part of a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat."