Christmas, 100% fruit juice and cardiovascular diseases
Five months into this discussion, we have established certain facts about sugar and 100% fruit juice. We have also deconstructed certain myths that have rubbed some individuals of the benefits of pure fruit juice.
We must have known by now, the roles of diet in lowering cholesterol and reducing risk of heart disease. Taking 100% fruit juice, eating lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables as well as consuming fish in the right way, guard against cardiovascular damage, according to recent studies.
Quite often, we talk about celebration without considering the fact that you can only have fun when you are healthy. What is your nutritional objective as Christmas approaches? Of course, this is a season of indulgence but as a health conscious individual, you must select your meals and drinks with your overall nutritional goal in mind. And I think pure fruit juice is the way to go. Now, let’s go back to our central theme for today.
What are cardiovascular diseases? Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. It is usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries. It can also be associated with damage to organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes. CVD is one of the main causes of death and disability. But with healthy lifestyle, it can be prevented.
There are many different types of CVD. Four of the main types are coronary heart disease, stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIAs), peripheral arterial disease and aortic disease.
The major risk factors of CVD include high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, inactivity, being overweight or obese, family history of CVD, ethnic background, age, gender, unhealthy diet and excessive alcohol. To reduce your CVD risk, you need to stop smoking, have a balanced diet for a healthy heart, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and reduce alcohol intake. If you already have CVD, staying as healthy as possible can reduce its severity.
What research says… Blood pressure: The available evidence relating to 100% fruit juice consumption indicates modest benefits for blood pressure, suggesting that 100% fruit juice is an appropriate beverage for a healthy diet.
Risk of stroke: There is an emerging trend showing a negative correlation between 100% fruit juice consumption and risk of stroke. A group study (including 69,622 women, monitored for 14 years) reported a 10 per cent reduction in the risk of ischaemic stroke with consumption of citrus fruits and juices (orange and grapefruit).
Cholesterol levels: Available studies prove that there is reasonable evidence that 100% fruit juice reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol with an upward trend in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Stronger evidence exists for modulations in vascular health, inflammation and platelet aggression, most likely due to the flavonoid content of 100% fruit juices. These effects are seen particularly in participants with underlying risk of CVD such as dyslipidaemia, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The evidence from observational studies suggests either no impact or a modest beneficial effect of 100% fruit juices on CVD with the strongest associations seen with stroke. Clinical studies reveal several mechanisms relating to vascular health, inflammation, lipid oxidation and platelet aggregation that could explain the importance of 100% fruit juices in lowering CVD risks. Polyphenol compounds and potassium in fruit juices are most likely responsible for these effects.
How 100% fruit juice reduces CVD risk: Orange juice contains both vitamin C and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants. Drinking orange juice with a high fat or carbohydrate can actually neutralise the inflammatory stress generated by the unhealthy meal and help prevent blood vessel damage.
One eight-ounce glass of orange juice gives you at least 100% of the recommended Daily Value for vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant. It can help to neutralise free radicals, formed as part of the body’s natural oxidation processes.
Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables is a recognised way to maximise the intake of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant nutrients. For one, the different flavours of Chivita 100% have become important sources of vitamins and minerals. A growing body of evidence suggests that certain juice is linked to specific health benefits. In fact, more than a decade’s worth of research suggests that 100% fruit juice can help support a healthy heart.
It is not difficult to eat and live healthy. Get on the health and wellness campaign wagon and take the path toward a healthier lifestyle today. You can get it wrong with pure fruit juice. With yuletide around the corner, it is important you watch what you eat. And because of the coarseness of the weather, fruit juice is much more important now than any other time.
*Dr. Bisi Abiola is a health and fitness expert