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The healthy taste of grapefruit juice

Heart disease in Britain’s biggest killer so anything that can be done to help combat this problem is great news.

Now new research, just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is suggesting that drinking a glass of grapefruit juice a day could offer protection against heart disease.

Of course, with health nothing is that simple or easy! But the findings from the research, undertaken at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, really do show some positive results for grapefruit juice.

The tests involved only a small test group, just 48 health women between the ages of 50 and 65. However, this is one of the highest risk groups for heart disease, and the research involved drinking around half a pint of fresh grapefruit juice a day for six months.

It was found that at the end of the test period there was a significant improvement in the health of the blood vessels of the group, with more stretch and flexibility in the artery walls. The more elastic blood vessels are the better as this allows blood to flow more freely to the heart.

It is thought that it was the high level of flavanones in the grapefruit juice that helped contribute to this result.

It must be noted that this study was part-funded by a grant from the Florida Department of Citrus, and indeed all citrus fruit contain flavanones. However, grapefruit contain really good levels of flavanones, higher than lemon and in turn lemons contain higher levels than limes and oranges, so clearly grapefruit is the key if you are after the highest intake for heart protection.

There could be other benefits as well. The dominant flavanome in grapefruit is called naringin which gives it its tangy and bitter taste, and naringin that has already been found to have antioxidant properties. Naringin is also an aldose reductase inhibitor which means it can help to fight retinal disease linked to diabetics.

However, as is so often the case, the scientists involved say that more tests need to be done to confirm all aspects of the benefits. Also, grapefruit juice can interfere with medication including those used to treat high cholesterol or blood pressure, so if you are thinking of increasing your grapefruit consumption a lot, it would be best to speak to your doctor first.

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