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Certain Fruit Juices Shown to Reduce Inflammation Markers Linked to Heart Disease

A new study from researchers at the University of Southern Denmark found that blackcurrant and orange juices may reduce levels of two compounds associated with inflammation and heart disease.

The study, published in the February 2009 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, found that consumption of these fruit beverages led to a decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen, both key indicators for inflammation.

CRP is a protein produced by both the liver and fat cells. It is a well known marker for inflammation and is commonly used to assess heart disease risk. Fibrinogen is a protein that promotes blood clotting. It also plays a role in inflammatory responses inside your body.

For the study, researchers recruited 48 people with peripheral artery disease, a condition caused by a blockage of the large arteries in your arms and legs.

Each participant was assigned to receive two of four possible interventions that included fruit juice (blackcurrant and orange), fruit juice plus vitamin E, a sugar drink or a sugar drink plus vitamin E. They consumed the combinations for 28 days, with a four week break between interventions.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers found an 11% reduction in CRP levels and 3% reduction in fibrinogen among participants who drank the fruit juice. There was no additional effect observed in those who drank fruit juice plus vitamin E.

On the other hand, the sugar drink was associated with a 13% increase in CRP and 2% increase in fibrinogen.

More research is necessary to explore the mechanism behind these findings, but they may provide some hope for those at high risk for cardiovascular problems.

In addition to fruit juice, previous studies have shown that foods rich in antioxidant plant compounds called polyphenols - like chocolate, soy and green tea - may also help lower CRP levels.

According to the American Heart Association, CPR levels under 1 mg/L are considered low, levels from 1 to 3 mg/L are considered average and levels greater than 3 mg/L are considered high.
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