Heart Health Research Highlights
Grape consumption helped improve antioxidant capacity and blood vessel function in healthy men.1
In this small human study, consuming the equivalent of 1 ¼ cups of grapes per day helped improve blood vessel function in five healthy adult male subjects. Regular intake of grapes at that amount, but twice a day, for 21 days, caused even greater improvements in blood vessel function and antioxidant capacity.
Grape consumption helped reduce certain risk factors for heart disease and oxidative stress.2 3
Pre- and post-menopausal women consuming the equivalent of 1 ¼ cups of grapes per day saw the reduction of key risk factors for coronary heart disease. These included a reduction in blood triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol levels, and key markers for inflammation in the body. Additionally, the researchers observed a significant reduction in whole body oxidative stress.
A laboratory study showed that adding grapes to the diet of rats helped prevent the accumulation of harmful oxidized cholesterol and inhibited the development of atherosclerotic lesions. Specifically, the grape-enriched diet helped reduce oxidative stress, increase serum antioxidant capacity, reduce cell uptake of oxidized cholesterol and decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. These processes can help reduce the accumulation of cholesterol in the cells and inhibit atherosclerosis.
Grapes helped lower blood pressure, improve heart function, reduce inflammation and reduce heart muscle damage associated with a high-salt diet.4 5 6
In a series of laboratory studies, a grape-enriched diet helped protect against high blood pressure and the development of heart failure commonly associated with a high-salt diet. One study examined the impact of adding grapes to the diet of lab rats consuming either a high- or low-salt diet and also those receiving a mild dose of a common blood pressure drug, hydrazine. Those consuming a grape-enriched diet had lower blood pressure, better heart function, reduced inflammation throughout their bodies, and fewer signs of heart muscle damage than those consuming the same diet but without grapes. The group receiving the blood pressure medicine but no grapes saw a reduction in blood pressure, but their hearts were not protected from damage as they were in the grape-fed group. Two additional studies, using a similar rat model and feeding a grape- enriched diet, also demonstrated these types of protective effects.
Consuming grapes increased antioxidant capacity in humans and helped prevent the damaging effects of post-meal oxidative stress.7 8
Consuming grapes with a high fat meal helped prevent the damaging impact (reduced blood flow) that was observed with a high fat meal consumed without grapes.
In another human study, grape consumption increased blood antioxidant capacity and helped prevent post-meal oxidative stress, a natural state of oxidative stress in the body that results from eating a meal containing just protein, carbohydrates and fat, with no antioxidants.
1. Chaves AA et al. Vasoprotective endothelial effects of a standardized grape product in humans. Vascular Pharmacology.50 2009: 20-26.
2. Zern TL, Fernandez ML. Grape polyphenols exert a cardioprotective effect in pre- and post-menopausal women by lowering plasma lipids and reducing oxidative stress. J Nutr. 2005,135:1911.
3. Fuhrman B, et al. Grape Powder Polyphenols Attenuate Atherosclerosis Development in Apolipoprotein E Deficient Mice and Reduce Macrophage Atherogenicity. J Nutr. May 2005, 135:722-728.
4. Seymour EM. Chronic intake of phytochemical-enriched diet reduced cardiac fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction caused by prolonged salt-sensitive hypertension. J Gerontol Biolog Sci. 2008, Vol. 63A , No. 10; 1034-1042.
5. Seymour EM, et al. Grape Intake Reduces Heart Failure Pathogenesis in Rats. Acta Hortic. 2009, 841:207-213.
6. Seymour EM et. al. Whole Grape Intake Impacts Cardiac Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor and Nuclear Factor κβ Activity and Cytokine Expression in Rats With Diastolic Dysfunction. Hypertension. May 2010, Vol.55, No. 5.
7. Chaves AA et al. Vasoprotective endothelial effects of a standardized grape product in humans. Vascular Pharmacology.50 2009: 20-26.
8. Prior RL, et al. Plasma antioxidant capacity changes following a meal as a measure of the ability of a food to alter in vivo antioxidant status. J. Am Coll Nutr. 2007, 26, No.2:170-181.