FoodFacts.com likes nothing better than learning that a simple, natural, fresh food contributes even more than we had previously realized to our good health and well being! Today we learned more about grapes and their health benefits.
A new study from the University of Michigan Health System shows that grapes can reduce the risk of heart failure from chronic high blood pressure. It appears that they can increase the activity of a number of genes responsible for antioxidant defense in heart tissue. Grapes are a natural source of antioxidants and polyphenols.
The study involved rats with high blood pressure who were prone to heart failure. The rats were fed a grape-enriched diet for 18 weeks. The grape consumption reduced the occurrence of enlargement of the heart muscle and improved the diastolic function of the heart. But in addition, the study revealed that grape consumption turned on the antioxidant defense pathways by increasing the activity of the specific genes that produce glutathione, the most abundant antioxidant in the heart.
While prior studies had shown that grapes could protect against heart failure due to high blood pressure, this study was able to illustrate exactly how that is accomplished. The study will be extended, continuing into 2014. The research team is looking to further define the mechanisms of grape action. They currently believe that the consumption of the whole grape is important to realizing these benefits. The whole fruit contains hundreds of individual components and they suspect that those components work together to provide the beneficial effects.
It is estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure, which increases their risk of heart failure. We know that antioxidant-rich diets, high in fruits and vegetables help to reduce hypertension.
FoodFacts.com will follow this great news about grapes and keep our community informed of any new information that further reveals how these tasty, small globes of goodness can help us improve and maintain our health. In the meantime, let’s remember that grapes are an easy snack, a great tasting addition to salads and even to main dishes. It’s definitely well worth the effort to find ways to increase grape consumption in our diets.