FRESNO, Calif., July 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Another new study appearing in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition(1) shows that eating fresh grapes may reduce key risk factors for coronary heart disease in both pre- and post-menopausal women. Naturally occurring antioxidants in grapes known as polyphenols are believed to be responsible for this beneficial impact. The results of this new study showed that for both groups of women, grape polyphenols significantly reduced blood triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol levels, apoliproteins B and E, cholesterol ester transfer protein activity, and key markers for inflammation in the body. Additionally, the researchers observed a significant reduction in whole-body oxidative stress. "The protective effect of the grape antioxidants was remarkable," said principal investigator Maria Luz Fernandez of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut where the study was conducted. "And the good news for women is that a reasonable serving of grapes delivers the benefits." The grape powder used in this study was made from a representative sample of fresh California grapes and contains all of the biologically active compounds found in fresh grapes. Study participants were fed the equivalent of 1 1/4 cups of grapes daily for 4 weeks. "This study further reinforces the growing evidence that grapes play an important role in enhancing heart health," said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission. Coronary heart disease, also called coronary artery disease or atherosclerotic heart disease, is the result of the accumulation of plaque build up on the walls of the arteries. This can ultimately lead to a blockage of the vessels that supply blood to the heart or the brain, resulting in a heart attack or stroke respectively. Current views are that deposits of excess LDL cholesterol in the arterial wall, oxidative damage and an inflammatory process of the lining of the arteries may contribute to the disease progression. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. With the onset of menopause, the loss of estrogen often increases the risk for heart disease by raising blood lipids and apoliproteins associated with coronary heart disease. (1) Journal of Nutrition, vol. 135, pp. 1911-1917, 2005.
SOURCE California Table Grape Commission