New research, Feb 2015
Polyphenols from fruits and vegetables have been reported to play a role in the prevention of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A very recent study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry investigated the impact of the consumption of peach and plum juice in the protection against obesity and metabolic disorders that promote the development of cardiovascular diseases.
Obese and lean rats were fed with peach, plum juice as much as they wanted, or placebo. Body weight gain and markers for inflammation and cardiovascular disease in heart tissue were subsequently measured.
Results showed that peach and plum juice consumption protected against a combination of obesity-induced metabolic disorders including high blood sugar, insulin and leptin resistance, abnormal amount of lipids in the blood, and LDL-cholesterol oxidation. This marker is particularly interesting because it is the oxidised part of LDL cholesterol, rather than its total amount, that promotes cardiovascular disease.
In addition results also reported a diminished expression of pro-atherogenic and pro-inflammatory biomarkers in plasma and heart tissues.
Peach and plum juice consumption, moreover, decreased the levels of angiotensin II in plasma, suggesting a possible role of peach and plum polyphenols as PPAR-γ agonists (drugs which used for the treatment of symptoms of the metabolic syndrome, mainly for lowering triglycerides and blood sugar).
Furthermore, only plum juice significantly prevented body weight gain and increased the ratio HDL cholesterol / total cholesterol. This effect is most likely attributed to the plum’s higher content of polyphenols, which is three times that of peach.
This research is quite interesting because it highlights some beneficial properties of fruit even in juice form (i.e. deprived of its fibre), due to its high nutrient and polyphenol content. In the media there is so much emphasis on the bad impact of fruit juice on blood sugar levels and therefore the possible detrimental effect on insulin resistance and diabetes. What we must remember is that fruit juice is not all equal, and that freshly prepared fruit juice can be a sweet ally of our health. Which is very good news.