CONCORD, Mass., March 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Welch's understands that heart health is a primary concern for busy moms and family members of all ages, and new research further supports the fact that grape juice made from Concord grapes can be a delicious part of a heart healthy diet. A new study presented at an American Heart Association conference* conducted by Dr. Joseph Vita of the Boston University School of Medicine shows that drinking Concord grape juice may have a beneficial impact on nocturnal blood pressure, which indicates healthy blood pressure regulation. These study results build on over a decade of cardiovascular research that suggests Concord grape juice can help promote a healthy heart and flexible arteries(1, 2, 3, 4) which contribute to healthy circulation and healthy blood pressure.
Science supports that nocturnal blood pressure (blood pressure at night) reflects overall cardiovascular health. Under optimal circumstances, blood pressure will dip down at night, giving the heart and blood vessels a rest. This nightly blood pressure drop is known as nocturnal dipping. Clinical evidence suggests that "non-dippers" are at an increased risk for future cardiovascular events.
Dr. Vita's research compared the effects of Concord grape juice on measures of blood pressure, fasting glucose and insulin levels to the effects of a grape-flavored, calorie-matched placebo drink. The study found that drinking Concord grape juice improved the nocturnal dip in blood pressure, while body weight, blood glucose and fasting insulin levels were not impacted. Results from the placebo group reported the opposite outcome with a negative effect on nocturnal blood pressure and a rise in fasting glucose. While Dr. Vita's research did not find a significant decrease in 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure, the study results suggest that consumption of Concord grape juice may have a beneficial impact on blood pressure regulation.
This randomized double-blind crossover study included 64 men and women with blood pressure levels classified as pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension. Study participants were not taking anti-hypertensive medications during the study period.
Dr. Vita said, "With nearly one out of every three U.S. adults burdened by high blood pressure, dietary approaches to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels should be encouraged. This study is the first to report beneficial effects on nocturnal blood pressure with Concord grape juice and further research into its role in promoting and protecting cardiovascular health is warranted."
This research complements a growing body of evidence suggesting that 100% grape juice made specifically from Concord grapes may provide many of the same heart health benefits as red wine, without the concerns of alcohol. Welch's Health and Nutrition Manager Casey Lewis, MS, RD, explained, "Studies have shown that Concord grape juice works in a similar fashion to red wine to promote flexible arteries, which can contribute to healthy blood pressure. Dr. Vita's research lends additional support to the belief that grape juice made from Concord grapes may play an important role in promoting cardiovascular health."
Headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts, Welch's is the processing and marketing subsidiary of the National Grape Cooperative. Welch's is owned by nearly 1,200 family-farmers across America and in Ontario, Canada, who make up this cooperative, and who are responsible for growing the Concord and Niagara grapes which are pressed to produce Welch's juices and other grape-based products. At the heart of Welch's is the delicious and inherently healthy Concord grape, and the family-farmer owners who grow it. Welch's Concord grapes are pressed, including the skin and seeds, within 8 hours of being harvested to capture the grapes' natural antioxidant power, and to ensure a premium quality product. Welch's 100% Grape Juice made from Concord grapes helps promote a healthy heart and arteries and maintain a healthy immune system. Welch's is committed to research and development which will meet the growing demand for products that address consumers' health and nutrition needs. Welch's products are sold throughout the United States and in approximately 50 countries around the globe. For more information, visit http://www.welchs.com/healthprofessionals.aspx
*The American Heart Association's Joint Conference - 50th Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention - and - Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Conference; San Francisco, CA (March 2-5, 2010)
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