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Refreshing juice zaps heart disease

The next time you order a hamburger at a drive-through restaurant, be kind to your heart and drink a glass of apple juice with it instead of soda.

Apple juice is a new heavyweight contender in the fight against heart disease. It joins tea, red wine, and grape juice as an antioxidant-rich drink.

Previous research found that red wine protected against heart disease. Then researchers discovered that flavonoids, chemicals found naturally in grape skins and other foods, were responsible for the heart-healthy benefits of red wine. This also explained why red wine was beneficial and white wine wasn't. The grape skins are removed during the production of white wine.

And a recent study found that purple grape juice produced the same beneficial effects as red wine, regardless of alcohol content -- good news for teetotalers.

Now a new studying shows that grape juice isn't the only heart-protective fruit juice. Apple juice is more nutritious than previously thought.

Researchers tested six brands of commercial, no sugar added apple juice. They also tested the flesh and peel of fresh apples, as well as whole Red Delicious apples. Although the apples and juice contained varying amounts of flavonoids, they all prevented bad LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized.

An earlier Dutch study tested 805 men over the age of 65 to see what effect their intake of foods containing flavonoids had on their risk of heart disease. Men who consumed the most flavonoids in the form of apples, tea, and onions had a significantly lower risk of heart disease than those who didn't consume foods high in flavonoids. A follow-up study in Finland reinforced these results.

Besides being a good source of antioxidants, apples provide the soluble fiber pectin, which seems to bind LDL cholesterol and help it move out of your body. Apples also contain healthy amounts of vitamins C and E.

For a refreshing way to help keep your arteries clear and your heart pumping strong, drink some apple or grape juice every day.

     
     

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