Want to protect your heart?
Drink purple grape juice, not orange or grapefruit juice, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison.
Unlike citrus juices, purple grape juice contains an ingredient that prevents blood platelets from sticking to the walls of coronary arteries, said John Folts, professor of medicine and director of the Coronary Artery Thrombosis Research and Prevention Laboratory at UW Hospital and Clinics.
“That doesn’t mean that oranges and grapefruit are not good for you,” Folts said. “But if you’re looking at heart disease, it looks like grape juice is much better for you than orange or grapefruit juice.”
In tests performed on themselves and on a small group of volunteers, Folts and his colleagues found that drinking one 10- to 12-ounce glass of 100 percent pure purple grape juice a day appears to offer more anti-clogging protection than taking a daily aspirin.
“We think that grape juice may be better than aspirin, but we’re not suggesting that people stop their aspirin therapy because that’s proven to be helpful,” he said.
Folts presented his findings Tuesday at the American College of Cardiology’s 46th annual scientific session in Anaheim, Calif.
A renowned platelet expert, Folts knows how to prevent the blood clots that trigger the heart attacks and about 80 percent of the stokes that make cardiovascular disease the No. 1 killer in the nation.
In 1973, he developed a coronary thrombosis model - now used worldwide - that showed how blood clots when it flows through narrowed arteries with damaged walls.
The key ingredients in these heart-healthy drinks are vitamin-like compounds called flavonoids.
About 1,000 different kinds of flavonoids are found in various fruits and vegetables.
Now scientists are trying to find out which ones protect against heart disease.
Folts has focused his research on flavonoid-containing beverages.
The reason purple grape juice protects the heart while citrus juices - along with red and white grape juice - do not is because grape juice contains flavonols, a subgroup of flavonoids, while citrus juices contain flavonones, another subgroup.