A study examining the effects of 100% grapefruit juice reported that consumption led to lower vascular stiffness in women when compared to a control drink. Increased arterial stiffness is primarily a consequence of aging and has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.
Originally published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this randomized controlled cross-over study included 48 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 65 years old. The women consumed approximately 11.3 ounces of 100% grapefruit juice or a control drink that was matched in sugars, calories and most vitamins and minerals, but contained no naringin, the primary polyphenol in grapefruit juice. Beverages were consumed for six months, followed by a two-month rest period before participants consumed the opposite beverage for another six months. The women ate their normal diet throughout the study but limited their intake of other citrus and foods high in polyphenols, such as tea, cocoa and wine.
Following consumption of 100% grapefruit juice, measurements of the arteries found they were less stiff compared to the control drink, linking the juice to positive effects on vessel health. Juice consumption was not found to adversely affect total energy (calorie) intake, body weight, glucose metabolism or insulin resistance.
A recent follow-up analysis on blood samples from a subset of women in the study found that the consumption of 100% grapefruit juice affected the expression of certain genes and proteins associated with beneficial effects on inflammation, immunity, cell interaction and vascular function. These positive effects were likely due to naringin since the control drink was nutritionally similar to 100% grapefruit juice but lacked naringin. The studies help explain how polyphenols might work in the body to positively affect health outcomes.
“These results add to the growing body of evidence supporting the beneficial health effects of citrus juice polyphenols, like naringin in grapefruit juice and hesperidin in orange juice,” said Rosa Walsh, director of scientific research for the Florida Department of Citrus. “100% citrus juices deliver vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds that help contribute to good health and are a great addition to a well-balanced diet.”
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
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