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Red grapefruit appears to lower cholesterol, fight heart disease

A grapefruit a day particularly the red variety can help keep heart disease at bay, according to a new study by Israeli researchers. In a controlled study group of patients with heart disease, the scientists found that feeding some patients the equivalent of one grapefruit daily significantly reduced levels of cholesterol in comparison to patients that did not eat grapefruit. Chronic high blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease.

The study, which strengthens a growing body of evidence supporting the heart-healthy benefits of eating citrus fruit, was published Feb. 3 on the website of the American Chemical Societys Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry . The findings come at an appropriate time: The month of February has been designated as American Heart Month and heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. The study will appear in the journals March 22 print issue.

The study included 57 patients, both men and women, with hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol) who recently had coronary bypass surgery and whose high lipid levels failed to respond significantly to statin drugs. Statins are commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, according to study leader Shela Gorinstein, Ph.D., a chief scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The patients, equally divided into three treatment groups, were given either a single serving of fresh red grapefruit, white (blond) grapefruit or no grapefruit, along with regular, balanced meals for 30 consecutive days. Israeli Jaffa red and white grapefruit varieties, which are available in the U.S., were used in this study.

The patients who received either red or white grapefruit showed significant decreases in blood lipid levels, whereas the patients that did not eat grapefruit showed no changes in lipid levels, according to the researchers. Red grapefruit was more effective than white in lowering lipids, particularly blood triglycerides, a
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Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-4400
American Chemical Society
8-Feb-2006


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