Wondering if juicing fruits and vegetables is heart healthy? Wonder no more. After reviewing over 100 studies on fruit and vegetable juices and their impact on cardiovascular health, researchers concluded that the answer is YES, juicing is good for your heart.
“Some juices might be used as potential supplements for cardiovascular protection, especially mixture of juices containing a variety of fruits and vegetables with polyphenols, vitamins and minerals.” – International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Here are some of the highlights from their research.
Fruit and vegetable juices have been shown to:
- Improve both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure
- Lower serum LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol
Fruit and vegetable juices improve and protect heart and cardiovascular health through several mechanisms.
“Lipid peroxidation” is the process where normal LDL cholesterol is damaged (oxidized) by free radicals. Oxidized LDL is a major contributor to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis.) Many juices have been shown to limit lipid peroxidation, including apple juice, pomegranate juice, fresh carrot juice, orange juice, and green juice that includes orange, apple, lettuce, cabbage and cucumber.
Improvement of Aspects of the Cardiovascular System
- The dietary nitrate in some vegetables, such as beets and dark leafy greens, boost nitric oxide (NO) production which makes blood vessels more flexible and promotes healthy blood pressure.
- Improvements in flow-mediated dilation have also been demonstrated in studies on blackcurrent juice, peach and plum juice, citrus fruit juice.
- Central aortic stiffness was statistically significantly lowered by grapefruit juice.
- Papaya juice significantly lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats.
- Sweetie fruit juice (a cross between white grapefruit and pomelo,) pomegranate juice, guava fruit juice, and cherry juice have all been shown to improve both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Improvement of Endothelial Function
Endothelium-dependent vasodilatation also plays a key role in blood pressure. The endothelium is the one-cell deep lining of your blood vessels that controls vascular tone, thereby blood flow. In one study, both the anthocyanins in purple carrot juice and beta carotene (found in orange carrots and other vegetables) improved endothelial function. Other juices that benefit endothelial function include cranberry juice, blackcurrent juice, lingonberry juice (all rich in polyphenols.)
Concord grape juice has been shown to improve endothelial function and arterial tree vascular elastic properties.
Inhibition of Platelet Aggregation
It’s not good when blood platelets stick together. You want them flowing freely, and the flavonoids in juice can help.
- Purple grape juice, high in polyphenolic compounds, including flavonoids, has been shown to reduce platelet aggregation by 77%, reducing the risk of heart attack.
- Beet juice and pomegranate juice has also been shown to inhibit platelet aggregation.
Chronic inflammation is a contributing factor in almost every major disease, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Some anti-inflammatory juices referenced in this study include tomato juice, cranberry juice, plum juice, peach juice, and red orange juice.
Prevention of Hyperhomocysteinemia
Having a high homocysteine level can contribute to arterial damage and blood clots in your blood vessels. Supplementing with fruit and vegetable juices improves folate status which correlates to decreased plasma homocysteine levels.
“The main underlying mechanisms of the cardiovascular protection included antioxidant effects, improvement of aspects of cardiovascular system, improvement of endothelial function, inhibition of platelet aggregation, anti-inflammation, and prevention of hyperhomocysteinemia.”
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that juicing is a powerful nutritional tool for improving your overall health, including cardiovascular health. If you’re ready to get started juicing for heart health, check out the Healthy Heart Juicing Jumpstart.
Source: Zheng J, Zhou Y, Li S, et al. Effects and Mechanisms of Fruit and Vegetable Juices on Cardiovascular Diseases. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(3):555. Published 2017 Mar 4. doi:10.3390/ijms18030555