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Fruit juice may protect the heart

Scientists have developed a fruit drink which they claim could lower the risk of heart disease.

The heart-healthy drink includes berry, grape and apple juices and provides the 'ideal blend' of ingredients to protect the heart, its French creators have said.

It contains a number of 'polyphenol' plant compounds which have previously been shown to improve the functioning of arteries.

Grape juice makes up more than 60% of the drink but it combines 13 different fruits overall, with apple, blueberry, strawberry and lingonberry among the other ingredients.

More exotic fruits such as acerola - a cherry-like fruit from the West Indies - and aronia, also known as chokeberry, from America, were also added.

Various blends of fruit juices or purees were first studied in the laboratory for their effects on isolated pig arteries.

The final recipe was chosen after a taste test by 80 volunteer consumers. The healthy heart fruit cocktail consists of the following rounded-up proportions of ingredients: acerola 4%, apple 10%, grape 63%, lingonberry 5%, aronia 4%, blueberry 10%, and strawberry 10%.

Lead researcher Dr Cyril Auger, from the University of Strasbourg, said: "These berries are characterised by the presence of high levels of anthocyanins, which are pigments responsible for the blue-red colours of fruits."

The Royal Society of Chemistry journal Food and Function published the findings.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Food and Function