Juices made from apples or purple grapes - and the fruit themselves - protect against developing clogged arteries, a study suggests.
Researchers fed hamsters the fruit and juice or water, plus a fatty diet. The animals who were fed grape juice had the lowest risk of developing artery problems, Molecular Nutrition and Food Research reports.
The University of Montpellier team said the juice's benefits came from its high levels of phenols - an antioxidant. Antioxidants in various foods have been regularly cited as being beneficial to heart health.
The French team looked at how juicing affected the phenol content of fruit - because most studies look at raw fruit.
Four glasses a day
They then looked at how being fed various kinds of fruit affected the hamsters' risk of atherosclerosis - the build-up of fatty plaque deposits in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks or strokes. The amount of fruit the hamsters consumed was equivalent to three apples or three bunches of grapes daily for a human. Hamsters given juice drank the equivalent of four glasses daily for a person weighing 70 kilograms (154 pounds).
The apples and grapes had about the same phenol content, while the purple grape juice had 2.5 times more phenols than apple juice. Compared with animals given water, those given fruit or fruit juice had lower cholesterol levels, less oxidative stress, and less fat accumulation in their aorta, the main vessel supplying oxygenated blood to the body.
Purple grape juice had the strongest effect, followed by purple grapes, apple juice and apples.
Source - BBC