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More Americans die from cardiovascular disease than any other cause, according to 2012 data from the American Heart Association. There is no single miracle elixir for heart and blood vessel health, but a handful of fruit juices lead the heart-healthy pack, giving your cardiovascular system a significant -- and scientifically proven -- boost. Substitute all-natural juice for less healthy beverage options, such as soda, to reap the heart-healthy benefits.
Beetroot juice, though perhaps not as common as a glass of OJ with breakfast, stands among the most heart-healthy juices. About 17 ounces of beetroot juice per day significantly reduces blood pressure, according to a 2008 study from the London School of Medicine and the William Harvey Research Center at Barts. The high nitrate content of beetroot juice, which actually widens the blood vessels when it enters the body as nitrite, lowers blood pressure within one hour of ingestion.
In 2003, a University of Scranton study reported that three 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice per day increased вЂњgood cholesterol,вЂќ or high-density lipoprotein, by an average of 10 percent. This figure makes for an average 40 percent decrease in heart disease risk. Exactly why this is remains unclear, but researchers theorize that the high levels of antioxidant polyphenols are the cause.
Red wine has long been associated with heart health, but its non-alcoholic sibling is no slouch either. The flavonoids found in purple grapes relax the blood vessels, which leads to improved blood flow and a decreased risk of arterial buildup. A 1999 controlled study conducted by the University of Wisconsin found that a daily glass of purple grape juice significantly reduced oxidation, вЂњbad cholesterol,вЂќ or low density lipoprotein, and encouraged healthy blood flow. Likewise, this heart-friendly juice helps decrease the occurrence of heart attack-causing blood clots, according to unpublished research from the University of Georgetown.
When incorporating heart-healthy juices into your diet, avoid juices that contain added sugar. Dr. Thomas Behrenbeck, a cardiologist from Mayo Clinic, warns that this additional sugar, which adds calories to the juice, decreases its cardiovascular health benefits. Consult your doctor before adding a new juice to your regular diet to avoid potentially dangerous interactions with prescription drugs such as enzyme inhibitors and blood thinners.