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A Daily Glass of OJ May Boost Heart Health

A flavonol found in orange juice called hesperidin may significantly reduce a number of cardiovascular disease risk factors according to a study published in the December 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers from the French National Institute for Agronomic Research conducted the study. 24 healthy, overweight men between the ages of 50 and 65 were recruited to participate.

Over the course of 4 weeks the men were randomly assigned to consume 500 ml of orange juice, a hesperidin-rich drink or a placebo drink once every day.

The researchers found that the participants given the hesperidin-rich drink and those given the orange juice had a significant reduction in blood pressure after 4 weeks. They also observed a direct association between blood vessel function and levels of hesperidin in the blood.

This study adds to a quickly growing body of science highlighting the potential benefits of polyphenol rich foods, particularly in relation to heart health.

Polyphenols are found naturally in plants and fruits such as green tea, wine, cocoa, nuts and grapes. They have strong antioxidant properties which allow them to neutralize destructive free radicals and decrease oxidation damage in the body. These beneficial antioxidants have been linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory diseases.

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