Antioxidant-rich juices boost heart health: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Tea Atherosclerosis Black tea functional beverage beverage

Consuming antioxidant-rich raspberry juice or tea may prevent artery hardening, and lead to improvements in heart health, say results of a European wide research.

Measures of atherosclerosis were reduced in hamsters with high cholesterol levels following consumption of raspberry, strawberry and bilberry juices and green and black tea, with the benefits were significantly greater for raspberry and green tea, according to findings published in the journal Food Chemistry​.

Consuming the equivalent of 275 ml by a 70 kg human led to reductions in fat deposits in the aorta of up to 96 per cent after 12 weeks, report researchers from the University of Montpellier 2, the University of Parma, and the University of Glasgow.

“These findings suggest that moderate consumption of berry juices and teas can help prevent the development of early atherosclerosis,”​ wrote the researchers, led by Montpellier’s Jean-Max Rouanet.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), which causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and is reported to cost the EU economy about €169bn ($202bn) per year.

The authors also note that, while all of the beverages exerted beneficial effects, the composition and concentration of individual phenolic compounds varied substantially between the five beverages. “This indicates that anti-atherosclerotic effects can be induced by a diversity of phenolic compounds rather than a few specific components,”​ they said.

Study details

Dr Rouanet and his co-workers divided 60 male Syrian golden hamsters into 6 equal groups and fed them a high-fat diet supplemented with Bouvrage raspberry, bilberry, or strawberry juices (obtained from Ella Drinks Ltd., UK), or green and black teas (obtained from The Tetley Group), or water for 12 weeks.

Dr Rouanet told NutraIngredients that hamsters were used because their development of atherosclerosis is similar to humans.

At the end of the study the berry juices and teas were associated with an inhibition of fatty deposits in the aorta ranging from 79 per cent for the bilberry juice to 96 per cent for the green tea, with the other juices in between.

“We have demonstrated that berry juices and teas fed to hamsters under atherogenic diet are able to facilitate a very strong inhibition of aortic fatty streaks deposition,” ​said the researchers. “These effects are physiologically relevant as they were induced by a daily supplement equivalent to 275 ml of beverage consumed on a daily base by a 70 kg human.”

“Thus, polyphenol-rich berry juices and green and black tea intake may be of significant relevance to clinical and public health,” ​they concluded.

Source: Food Chemistry
Volume 118, Issue 2, Pages 266-271
“Berry juices, teas, antioxidants and the prevention of atherosclerosis in hamsters”
​Authors: J.-M. Rouanet, K. Décordé, D. Del Rio, C. Auger, G. Borges, J.-P. Cristol, M.E.J. Lean, A. Crozier

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