Heart Health Program & Arterial Plaque | Natural Health Blog

Date: 05/23/2008    Written by: Jon Barron

Fruit Juice Fights Arterial Plaque

Fruit Juice, Arterial Plaque, Fruit

Researchers from Universite Montpellier in France recently discovered that grapes and apples may prevent plaque from coating arterial walls when consumed with fatty, high-cholesterol foods. The researchers also found that apple and grape juices have a more powerful anti-plaque effect than the fruits themselves.

The study followed several groups of hamsters -- one fed a normal diet, while the others enjoyed high-fat diets plus either fruit, water, or juice. The amount of fruit consumed by the little rodents was the human equivalent of three apples or bunches of grapes a day; the amount of juice was the equivalent of about four glasses. The hamsters in the purple grape juice group fared the best, with the lowest level of atherosclerosis, followed by those eating purple grapes. The apple-juice and apple-eating hamsters scored third and fourth, respectively. All the fruit and juice-eating hamsters had lower cholesterol, less oxidative stress, and less fat accumulation in their aortas than the hamsters who consumed no fruit or juice.

The researchers assume that the cardiac benefits of fruit probably derive from phenolic compounds--powerful antioxidants found in grapes and apples. Although grapes and apples contain the same amount of phenols in fruit form, grape juice has two-and-a-half times the amount that apple juice does. Earlier studies have found significant differences in phenol content from one fruit juice to another, with blueberry juice the leader of the pack, and apple, grape, pomegranate juices containing far more than the ever-popular orange, pineapple, and grapefruit juices.

According to the Universite Montpellier research team, the findings suggest that the amount of phenols contained in a food have a direct effect on its antioxidant properties. The results, they write, "provide encouragement that fruit and fruit juices may have a significant clinical and public health relevance."

But that's only part of the story. What they missed is that a primary reason juices outperform fresh fruits in delivering antioxidants has to do with the way juice concentrates the nutrients. You get more bioactive punch for the mouthful from juice because you don't have to eat all of that fiber. Also, the body can utilize the nutrients more readily since it doesn't have to separate nutrients from the fiber, minimizing the amount of energy consumed in digestion and freeing up that energy for healing. Thirdly, not all phenols are the same. Some, such as EGCG in green tea, resveratrol in grapes, and curcumin in the spice turmeric stand out. And then, of course, in addition to phenols, fruit juices contain other antioxidants such as Vitamin C, as well as minerals, living enzymes, and an assortment of phytochemicals.

But hold for a moment. Before you decide to implement the good news by washing down your beefsteak and fries with a glass of Welch's, here's something to consider. There's a world of difference between commercial bottled juice and freshly made juice. Within minutes of juicing, many of the nutrients and enzymes start to break down, rendering the benefits far less potent. By the time bottled juice gets to your mouth, particularly if it's been processed, it's a mere shadow of its original self. Also, while fruit juices provide many benefits, they contain a lot of sugar, so I'd recommend emphasizing vegetable juices instead. In fact, I've frequently said that a good juicer is probably the single best investment you can make in your health.

If you don't already own a juicer and find this news inspiring enough to send you in search of one (as I hope), look for a machine that's great at extraction, but also easy to use and clean. Some powerful juicers are so difficult to clean that they'll surely end up in your yard sale bin. I used to own a Norwalk -- which did a fantastic job of extracting -- but it was such a pain to clean that I got rid of it.

I don't usually give specific product recommendations, but since the juicer is such a key element in your health routine, I'll break my own rule here. Note that you can spend stratospheric amounts on a juicer such as a Norwalk, or pick a perfectly acceptable L'equip for about $130.

  • In terms of extraction, I like the twin magnetic gear system used in juicers like the Green Star. But the Green Star has a big footprint on the counter and takes a bit of effort to clean -- although it's nowhere near as difficult as the Norwalk. I pull it out for fasts, when I'm going to be juicing heavily for several days in a row, and then just clean it at the end of each day. If you're doing a lot of juicing during any given day, the Green Star is the way to go.
  • If you're new to juicing, you may want to try the L'equip Mini Model 110.5 pulp ejector juicer. It may not have the best extraction method, but it does a reasonable job. Its main advantage is that relative to most high-end juicers, it's quick to use and clean. In other words, with the Mini Model, it's not that big a production to just make a glass of fresh squeezed juice whenever you want -- which is pretty much what most people want out of a juicer.

No matter which model of juicer you choose, please note that I don't recommend that you make your juice and then do as the hamsters did -- down junk food to round out your meals. Even though juice may moderate some of the deleterious effects of high-fat, high-glycemic diets, it provides far more benefit when used as part of a healthy diet routine. In fact, I've been a big advocate of juice fasting for years -- because it allows your body a chance to detoxify and rebuild. In other words, it's a nice counterbalance to pepperoni pizza, beer, and Ding Dongs.


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    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    July 21, 2009 - 7:22am

    Yes, I'm really big on juice fasting -- using a juicer to make fresh vegetable and fruit.. I think the single best investment you can make in your health is a good juicer. Both fresh vegetable and fresh fruit juices are great, but I would definitely recommend emphasizing the vegetable juices as they are more alkalinizing and contain less sugar. Juice fasting cleanses the body while supplying a dramatic increase in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Vegetable and fruit juices are a living fuel that takes no digestive energies from the body, allowing the body's entire focus to be on healing and rejuvenation.  It is packed with vitamins, minerals, living enzymes, antioxidants, phytochemicals, yet low enough in calories to force the body to cannibalize its own residual waste, propelling you to vigorous physical health and clarity of mind. Fruit and vegetable juices are the cleansers, energizers, builders, and regenerators of the human system.  A combination of either fresh, raw fruit or vegetable juices will supply all the enzymes, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fats critical to increased vitality! By adding live juices to one's diet as a daily routine, you supply the body with easily absorbed nutrients, while the body is cleansing itself in the fasting state.

    My recommended juice fasting protocol:

    Fast one day a week on juice and one of the super foods (chlorella, spirulina, stabilized rice bran, Aktivated barley, etc.).
    Once a month, do a 3 day juice/super food fast. 
    And twice a year, as part of a bi-annual liver detox, do a 5-6 day juice/superfood fast.

    Here's an interesting thought to keep in mind. If all you do is fast just one day a week, it adds up spectacularly. In seven years, you will have fasted for one entire year. For the average person, that represents 1.5 pounds saved every two weeks—39 lbs in body weight at the end of the seven years! What do you think a year of fasting every seven years would do to optimize your health—let alone slow down any weight gain you might otherwise have experienced?
    Any good juicing book will walk you through a simple juice fast. Note: while fasting, you will want to minimize supplements to give your body a rest.

    Submitted by Ray Wilbur on
    July 21, 2009 - 6:04am

    You mention "juice fasting" quite a bit. What is juice fasting?

    Submitted by Courtney on
    June 9, 2011 - 2:29am

    Hi Jon,

    I recently started juicing again, this time with my wife. After day three I feel fantastic (got rid of the head fog and I no longer feel tired) all but for one thing; I keep getting very nauseous and also have some pretty painful stomach cramps......and they last ALL DAY AND NIGHT.

    As I am writing my stomach is turning over with cramps and it's been over 12 hours since I drank the last 16oz cup. I woke up several times last night with a very distinct burning sensation in my stomach.

    The pain comes in waves which are spaced out about an hour apart and last for about 10 - 20 minutes at a time.

    We juiced cabbage, carrots, lettuce, 1 clove garlic and some peas in the pod.

    I am going to push through this because I can't imagine that I'm doing any kind of harm to myself, but I thought I would ask if this is sometimes normal? Maybe just my body detoxifying?

    Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Jon!

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    June 15, 2011 - 4:11pm

    It’s quite likely that your body doesn’t like one of the juices. For example, cabbage and peas can be very gassy – which could make you feel nauseous. Stop juicing until you feel better. Then start again, using some different combinations. In fact, start with plain carrot juice. See if you can handle that. Then add things to it one at a time until you notice a problem. That way you’ll be able to identify which juice in particular doesn’t work for you.

    Submitted by Courtney on
    June 15, 2011 - 4:19pm

    Hi and thanks for that. That is actually exactly what I did.....even down to "only carrots" :). Once the pain subsided (the next day) I took a break for a day and then juiced only carrots with no problems. I have since added everything back (one by one) and have not experienced it again.

    Again thanks!

    Submitted by john eckles on
    August 15, 2011 - 4:37am

    Dear jon barron have they find something to blocked the death hormones yet in the pituitary gland as l want pills to stop all of this do you know about this research as l do not want any death hormones in my body thats is a fact .

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    August 15, 2011 - 2:43pm


    I assume, you’re referring to DECO, which is commonly referred to as the "death hormone" since one doctor, Dr. Deckla, found an “apparent” link with its presence to accelerated aging processes. Denckla removed the pituitary gland from rat brains and injected the rats with thyroxine and growth hormones. He observed that the organ systems of rats with an absence of DECO appeared much younger than normal. Aged rat hearts and lungs seemed to become rejuvenated. However, when these same rats were injected with DECO, their organs began to age at a much accelerated rate.  DECO inhibits the ability of cells to utilize thyroxine, which is produced by the thyroid. Thyroxine governs metabolism on the cellular level. When the metabolic rate changes, it affects the rate of aging. Thus the creation of the death hormone theory.

    But things aren’t always what they seem. DECO actually serves a purpose in the body. At normal levels, it is a thyroid regulator. If injected into the body at abnormally high levels, it will over regulate, which will have serious consequences for the body. In other words, Dr. Deckla’s conclusions are likely based on a false assumption. Also, the use of hormones to control aging is only one piece of the puzzle. You might want to read Jon Barron’s four part series on aging. http://www.jonbarron.org/anti-aging/natural-health-newsletter-reverse-part1

    Submitted by Guest on
    November 8, 2011 - 8:06pm

    It's hard for me to believe that juicing is a healthy practice when it concentrates the sugar and throws out the healthy fiber. No thanks; I'll just continue making sure I get my nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables the old-fashioned way along with some exercise for my teeth. I don't need a big ol' spike in my blood sugar from guzzling down a load of sugar and water along with a few incidental anti-oxidants.

    Submitted by john eckles on
    November 15, 2011 - 6:33am

    Dear Dr jon barron you have not tell me yet were l can get these pills collagen with cells and genes pills if l cant get then l will have collagen type one pills

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    November 28, 2011 - 9:57pm

    Please see Jon's response above to your question.

    Submitted by Craig Brougher on
    March 1, 2012 - 8:47am

    I love your stuff! You do it right. Now, that said, I have a general comment regarding the goofs that the Frenchmen made:
    In the first place, plaque does not happen to arteries by consuming fatty, high-cholesterol foods! So the basic premise is wrong. If people wanted to check this out, why not study the Inuit peoples, whose diet in the long winter months is largely fat and blubber, and no vegetables? Why didn't they die before they were 20? What's the matter with these people, and why don't they ask the right questions? Nutrition "scientists" are no different than Lemming. They are obligated to follow each other over the nearest cliff.

    If fat in the diet were responsible for coating the blood vessels with plaque because it was fat and high cholesterol, then the first thing that would shut down is NOT the arteries, but the veins and capillaries! After all, cholesterol flows along in the blood as particles! The larger the conductor, the less effect a particle has on its transmission of fluid. (DUH!!) So conversely, the smaller the vein becomes, the greater the clogging power of cholesterol, OK? (CHEEZ! What a bunch of dithering numbskulls!) However, that doesn't happen. The arteries are the ONLY conductor however that gets clogged by cholesterol, and the reason is...INFLAMMATION.

    That said, fruit juice does modify blood plasma.

    Submitted by DR. ROBERT BOLMARCICH on
    October 12, 2015 - 4:35pm
    OAKDALE , Louisiana

    Mr. Barron:


    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    October 13, 2015 - 4:57pm

    We asked Jon about this, and he said that the studies on bergamot used by itself, so far, have been more indicative than definitive—although the indications are that it seems to work like a statin drug. However, on a medical level, studies have shown that using bergamot in combination with statin drugs significantly enhances the cholesterol lowering capabilities of those statin drugs. This lipid-lowering effect seems to be associated with significant reductions of biomarkers used for detecting oxidative vascular damage, suggesting a multi-action enhanced potential for bergamot in patients on statin therapy.

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