FRESNO, Calif., July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Until recently, research on the
heart-protective benefits of grapes has focused mainly on wine and grape
juice. But what about grapes eaten fresh, known as table grapes?
A growing body of research suggests that the polyphenols in wine and juice
-- polyphenols also found in table grapes -- are largely responsible for the
benefits. In a study recently published in the Annals of the New York Academy
of Sciences, 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 well-known effects of red
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