New Study Shows Fresh Grapes Protect the Heart Like Wine

Nov 08, 2002, 00:00 ET from California Table Grape Commission

    FRESNO, Calif., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- According to an article just
 published in the November 2002 Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, eating
 fresh grapes provides the same heart-health benefits touted for red wine.
     A growing body of research suggests that the polyphenols in wine and juice
 -- polyphenols also found in table grapes -- are largely responsible for the
 well-publicized health benefits of red wine.  In this latest study,
 researchers at the University of Connecticut tested whether grapes and their
 component polyphenols are also heart-protective.  They found that table grapes
 from California protected the heart and blood vessels against oxidative tissue
 damage, similar to the effects of red wine.
     Table grapes and wine contain many of the same polyphenols -- disease-
 fighting phytonutrients such as resveratrol, anthocyanins, catechins, and
 quercetin.  In this new study, researchers confirmed that grape polyphenols
 are effective antioxidants in two ways.  Grape polyphenols scooped up and
 inactivated free radicals.  Grapes also reduced by half the production of
 malondialdehyde, a by-product of oxidation.
     In the same study, researchers tested the protective effect of the
 polyphenol-rich grapes in a model that mimics what happens during and after a
 heart attack.  Deprivation and re-introduction of blood to the heart and blood
 vessels can lead to inflammation, blood loss and permanent tissue damage.  The
 damage is due in part to a dramatic rise in free radicals, which overwhelms
 the heart's normal antioxidant mechanisms that counteract free radical action.
 California table grape consumption improved blood flow and heart pumping
 capacity, and reduced the area of tissue death after a heart attack.
 Researchers attributed these effects mainly to the antioxidant effect of
     "Several investigators now believe fresh grapes and wine are equally
 cardioprotective," said Dr. Dipak K. Das, principal investigator on the study.
 "In the past I studied individual grape polyphenols, which are antioxidants
 and highly cardioprotective, and now have worked with whole grapes, which have
 the same effects."
     For years, researchers have told us that drinking wine is good for the
 heart.  More recently, grape juice was shown to help reduce susceptibility of
 LDL to oxidation and blood's tendency to form clots.  This latest research
 shows that fresh grapes also provide antioxidant protection.
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SOURCE California Table Grape Commission