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How to Juice for Heart Health

By Lana Billings-Smith

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Americans, according to the American Heart Association. While no one juice or juice blend can prevent heart disease or repair damaged heart and blood vessel tissue, some juices contain heart-friendly nutrients. These juices could give your cardiovascular system an overall health boost. Drink these heart-healthy juices in place of less healthy drinks such as sodas.

Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice can be purchased in many grocery stores as well as some health food stores. As with all premade juices, check to ensure there is little added sugar to derive the most benefits from the juice. Pomegranate juice is high in tannins, which may have anti-aging, anti-oxidative and anti-atherosclerotic properties. According to an article in a 2011 issue of “Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice,” pomegranate juice has shown an ability to lower blood pressure and is considered a heart-healthy fruit juice. However, further research is needed as the 2011 evaluation found that many studies had small sample sizes and few were conducted over the past 10 years.

Beet Juice

You can make beet juice at home with a juicer or choose a vegetable-based juice in the grocery store that contains beet juice. Because it is extremely sweet, beet juice is commonly blended with other juices rather than drunk on its own. Scientists found, as published in a 2012 issue of “Nutrition Journal,” that beet juice, combined with a low-nitrate diet, lowered blood pressure as soon as six hours after drinking the juice. The study was conducted on both men and women; however, further study, particularly with a larger sample size and adults eating a regular diet, is needed.

Red Grape Juice

Grape juice is naturally high in flavonoids, particularly in the case of red or purple grape juice. Flavonoids are natural antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage from aging and may help reduce your risk of developing cancer and heart disease. An article published in 2002 in “Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology” said studies had concluded that purple grape juice provided protection from “bad” or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which can cause hardened arteries. The scientists concluded that medical findings made it reasonable to suggest including purple grape juice in a daily diet as a way of reducing the risk of developing heart disease.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is rarely drunk unsweetened, as this tart, red berry is too sour to consume on its own. When choosing a cranberry juice, look for an all-natural one with minimal additives and preservatives, as well as a low added sugar content. Cranberry juice is a natural source of polyphenols, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease. An article published in 2011 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that regular consumption of cranberry juice reduced the degree of stiffness in arteries, a side effect of a high “bad” cholesterol diet. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries due to a buildup of plaque from LDL cholesterol.

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