oxidation of cholesterol in the blood is considered to be a key
step in the development of atherosclerosis and may be involved in
the cause of cancer. Many phytochemicals and other food components
have powerful antioxidant properties and can protect molecules like
cholesterol from oxidation. In this study, we set out to investigate
the effect of a plant-based diet high in phytochemicals, unsaturated
fatty acids and dietary fiber, including sun-dried raisins, on the
level of cholesterol oxidation.
Twelve women with high blood cholesterol and triglycerides were
instructed to consume a diet of refined plant foods and low in fruits
and vegetables for four weeks. This regimen was followed by a diet
of whole and unrefined plant foods, high in sun-dried raisins, nuts,
sesame seeds, whole grains, olive oil, green tea, and in carotenoid
fruits and vegetables for another four weeks. The unrefined-food
diet was rich in tartaric acid, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
The level of cholesterol oxidation after consuming diet high in
whole grains, fruits and vegetables was reduced by 21%.
It appears that sun-dried raisins, as part of a diet rich in whole
grains, nuts, seeds and other unrefined plant foods, affect the
level of cholesterol oxidation in the blood and may help protect
us against atherosclerosis.
Kuypers FA, Bruce B, Roitman E. and Klevay L. Diets high in phytochemicals
and fiber decrease plasma cholesterol oxidation. Presented at
The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, 37th Annual Meeting,
Montreal, Canada, July 1997. Am J Clin Nutr 66(1): 207, 1997 (Abstract