Fruit Can Keep Your Arteries Squeaky Clean

fruit, fruit juice, grapes, apples, heart disease, clogged arteries, artherosclerosisA study on juices made from apples or purple grapes showed that both the juices and the fruits themselves can help prevent clogged arteries.

Researchers fed hamsters fruit and juice along with a fatty diet. The animals who were fed grape juice had the lowest risk of developing artery problems. The benefits came from the fruits’ high levels of phenols, a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants in various foods are already known to be beneficial to heart health. In this case, the team wanted to see how juicing affected the phenol content, because most studies have looked at raw fruit.

The hamsters were given an amount of fruit equivalent to three apples, or three bunches of grapes for a human weighing 154 pounds (70 kg), and drank the equivalent of four glasses of juice daily.

Compared to the control group that was given water, those given fruit or fruit juice experienced several health benefits, including:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Less oxidative stress
  • Less fat accumulation in their aorta

Purple grape juice was the most potent, followed by purple grapes, apple juice, and apples. Other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and carotenoids may also contribute to their overall effect.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The health benefits of both grapes and apples have been studied and confirmed many times over, however, I want to remind you that too much fruit juice is not good for anyone, simply because the juice is so high in sugar and can cause problems for many if consumed in high quantities.

How Do You Know If You Have to Restrict Fruits?

I would conservatively estimate that 75 percent of the population needs to restrict fruit intake.  Anyone with high insulin levels needs to be careful.  You can measure your fasting insulin level, or if you have any of the following problems it is highly likely you have insulin resistance syndrome:

  • Overweight
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Yeast Infections

Additionally, protein nutritional types need to be careful about eating too much fruit.

While whole fruits should be consumed cautiously if you have the above conditions, freshly squeezed fruit juice has about eight full teaspoons of sugar per eight-ounce glass so you need to be extra cautious with juice. . Drinking your calories is a surefire way to increase your risk of both diabetes and obesity. When the fruit is intact and whole, on the other hand, its fiber will moderate the release of fructose into your bloodstream and your insulin release.

Commercial pasteurized juices sweetened with added sugar or artificial sweeteners should be avoided altogether as they have little or no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever.

Stick With Whole Fruit for Optimal Health Benefits

To a large extent, whether or not fruits are good for you depends on several factors including:

  • Your current state of health
  • Your nutritional type
  • The type of fruit

If you are overweight, have diabetes or high blood pressure you are best off avoiding fruits or limiting them to a small handful of berries a day. If you are currently healthy, a small amount of fruit should not be a problem as long as you follow the guidelines of your nutritional type.

For example, if you’re a protein type, fruits are generally not beneficial for you with the exception of coconut, which has a higher fat content that is beneficial for protein types.

On the other hand, carbohydrate types tend to fare well with fruit and can safely consume moderate amounts. This is an important distinction, and all nutritional types should try to eat primarily the specific fruits that are best for their unique biochemistry.

Some of the best fruits to eat are small berries. They are even better if you can use a high speed blender like a Vita Mixer, which pulverizes the seeds and releases the stored antioxidants, polyphenolic bioflavonoids, that are stored there. Most people don’t realize that most of the healthy constituents of the fruit are stored in the skin and the seeds.

Other Sources of Phenols 

There are also other sources of phenols that can give you the same heart healthy benefits, without the added sugar boost. 

Virgin olive oil, for example, is high in antioxidants, particularly phenols, and can easily be used in cooking and drizzled on salads. Most people do quite well with it as it does not upset the critical omega 6:3 ratio. 

And remember, both fruits and vegetables contain a myriad of compounds, in addition to antioxidants and vitamin C, which have been linked with heart health, including:

  • fiber
  • potassium
  • folate

Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, can offer similar heart-healthy benefits as grapes and apples, without disrupting your insulin levels in the process.