Heart Healthy Grapes
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Eating grapes may not only please your palate; it may also improve your heart health.
In a study of rats, researchers found grapes reduce cardiovascular risk by lowering blood pressure, improving heart function, reducing inflammation throughout the body and reducing signs of heart muscle damage. The rats were fed a blend of green, red and black table grapes mixed in powder form into their food. Improvements were noted 18 weeks after starting the diet.
“These findings support our theory that something within the grapes themselves has a direct impact on cardiovascular risk, beyond the simple blood pressure-lowering impact that we already know can come from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables,” Mitchell Seymour, M.S., lead researcher and manager of the University of Michigan (UM) Cardioprotection Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, was quoted as saying.
Researchers say the results may be because of the high levels of phytochemicals, or antioxidants, in grapes. “Although there are many natural compounds in the grape powder itself that may have an effect, the things that we think are having an effect against the hypertension may be the flavanoids -- either by direct antioxidant effects, by indirect effects on cell function, or both,” Steven Bolling, M.D., a professor of cardiac surgery at the UM Medical School, was quoted as saying. “These flavanoids are rich in all parts of the grape -- skin, flesh and seed, all of which were in our powder.”
Researchers point out although these results are promising, more studies need to be done on the fruit.
SOURCE: Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, 2008;63:1034-1042
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