Heart disease kills more people in the United States than any other health condition, according to the CDC. One cause for this disease is high cholesterol, which is a huge health problem in the Black community.
The Office of Minority Health reports that more than 24% of Black American men and more than 23% of Black American women over the age of 20 have high cholesterol. One simple way to positively impact this statistic is to add juice into everyday life. Natural juices—from simple grape juice to vegetable juice—could make a significant difference to health.
First, what is heart disease?
The term includes several conditions including atherosclerosis, otherwise known as hardened arteries. This condition keeps blood from flowing normally and triggers blood clots, according to the Mayo Clinic. The build-up that causes these hardened arteries is created by plaque, seen in people with high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). Plaque build-up can cause blood clots and heart attacks.
The goal is to have more good cholesterol (HDL), which moves the plaque to the liver instead of letting it build up in the arteries. Fruit and vegetable juices have been shown to reduce levels of bad cholesterol.
Many Americans rejoiced when they heard red wine keeps hearts healthy. Scientific studies have backed up this claim. Red wine has polyphenols in it, antioxidants found in grapes that can keep plaque from building up in the bloodstream. Studies have also shown there are more of these antioxidants in red wine than in grape juice.
Benefits of Juice
However, it appears that grape juice is better than wine at preventing heart disease. Grape juice also helps the function of cells that line the hardened arteries—so replacing the red wine with normal grape juice every night seems a sensible strategy. Pomegranate juice has also been shown to reduce cholesterol build-up in plaque and could offer a fancier alternative for juice drinkers.
Two other readily available options are lemon and orange juice. Lemon juice is one of the best ways to consume vitamin C, magnesium, copper and potassium. A daily dose of lemon juice may help reduce LDL levels in the body. Lab tests have proven that a little over three cups of orange juice a day can increase levels of good cholesterol by more than 20%. However, be careful, that much orange juice could be tough on the kidneys.
It may not be universally popular, but tomato juice has a lot of health benefits. It has a lot of rich nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, and K. A review showed that out of a group of almost 600 participants, those who included a lot of tomatoes or tomato juice in their diet had a reduced risk of heart disease. Another 13 studies showed that people with tomato products in their diet had lower levels of bad cholesterol by about 10%. It even reduced blood pressure. If you can stomach it, add garlic or ginger to the juice to enhance its potency to decrease bad cholesterol.
Despite the wealth of evidence demonstrating the benefits of fruit and vegetable juice, there can also be a downside. Most juice you get at the grocery store is filled with sugar and very calorific. Juicing can remove nutrients and fiber that you would get by eating the whole fruit. KP also reports that the fruit fiber helps to absorb fructose sugar more easily, so you would not get that benefit by drinking juice alone. This can upset blood sugar levels, according to their researchers.
The best advice we can give you is this: drink juice in moderation and dilute it with water. You can include these drinks in your diet with an early morning glass, or any meal of the day.
Not a juice drinker?
No matter how you get these nutrients, a healthy diet along with a routine exercise regime could help improve your chances of living a long life.
*Please note: soulWELL advises you to consult with your doctor concerning any dietary or supplement changes.