Fresh Juices Maintain Antioxidant Power
Here’s juicy news: A new study appears to show that fruit juices are as good as whole fruits when it comes to lowering cholesterol and increasing antioxidant levels. And in some cases, juice is actually even better.
The study was done with hamsters, fed an artery-clogging (atherogenic) diet. They were separated into five groups. One group was fed peel-free mashed apples… the second got apple juice… the third was fed mashed purple grapes… the fourth got purple grape juice. The fifth (the control group) was given water. The purple grape juice group had the greatest reduction in total cholesterol (34%), followed by the mashed grapes group (30%), followed by the apple juice group (24%) and then the mashed apples group (11%) … all compared with the control group.
“The results show for the first time that long-term consumption of antioxidants, especially phenolic compounds, supplied by apple or purple grapes prevents the development of atherosclerosis in hamsters,” the researchers stated.
The difference in results between the purple grape juice and the purple grapes themselves was tiny, but the difference in effect between apple juice and the apples was greater. “This probably relates to the type of antioxidants found in apples,” said Michael Murray, ND, author of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, who commented on the findings. He speculated that some of these unidentified compounds may be released when the cell walls are broken. It’s well-known that this happens to the antioxidant lycopene (found in tomatoes), which becomes more available to the body when the tomato is cooked.
Health benefits of apples and grapes have long been recognized. “A review of over 85 studies in Nutrition Journal looking at apple phytochemicals and disease found that eating apples was associated with less heart disease risk,” Dr. Murray told me. Now we know we can choose our favorite way to enjoy these fruits without sacrificing nutrients.