Eating grapes significantly improves heart health in men with metabolic syndrome
by John Phillip
(NaturalNews) In past research studies, scientists have vindicated the health promoting benefits of eating grapes to lower the risk of chronic diseases ranging from cancer to dementia and diabetes. Grapes of all varieties contain potent natural compounds known as polyphenols that provide critical antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support for many cellular and metabolic functions throughout the body. New evidence has now emerged to show how eating grapes or taking standardized supplements of grape extracts can improve essential biomarkers to dramatically improve heart health in those individuals with metabolic syndrome.
Researchers from the University of Connecticut have published the result of their research in the Journal of Nutrition to explain how grape consumption is heart protective in those high risk individuals diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. The study team observed a reduction in key risk factors for heart disease in men with metabolic syndrome, most notably lowered blood pressure, improved blood flow and reduced inflammation.
Grapes lower deadly levels of inflammatory compounds to lower heart disease risk
Metabolic syndrome is a major public health concern defined as a cluster of conditions that occur together: increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist or low HDL (the good cholesterol) and increased blood triglycerides. All these factors are known to significantly increase the risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Any natural compound that can minimize or reduce the effect of any of these dangerous markers without the need for pharmaceuticals should become part of a protocol for millions of at-risk individuals.
To conduct the study, participants were randomly assigned to consume grapes, in the form of a freeze-dried whole grape powder, or a placebo powder, for four weeks. After a three week period designed to ‘wash out’ the metabolic effects of the grape extract, the protocol was alternated between the two groups, allowing the researchers to compare the response of each individual to consumption of both the placebo and grapes.
Metabolic syndrome effects are diminished with regular consumption of polyphenol-rich grapes
The researchers found that for each of the study’s participants, grape consumption resulted in statistically significant decreases in blood pressure, improved blood flow (measured by increased vasodilatation), and decreases in a compound associated with inflammation (C-Reactive Protein or CRP). The lead study author, Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez concluded “These results suggest that consuming grapes can improve important risk factors associated with heart disease, in a population that is already at higher risk… this further supports the accumulating evidence that grapes can positively influence heart health and extends it to men with metabolic syndrome.”
Although this research did not specifically distinguish between grape varieties, most prior studies have targeted polyphenol-rich red grapes over traditional white grapes. Regular consumption of three to five servings of red grapes each week or supplementing with a standardized extract derived from the skins and seeds of the fruit can help shield against the damaging effects of metabolic syndrome, especially in men.