Issue 19, May 2010
6. Grapes Reduce Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Diabetes

     Findings presented on April 26 at the Experimental Biology convention in Anaheim, California by the Scientists at the University of Michigan Health System show that grape-enriched diet prevents risk factors for metabolic syndrome. The effect of the study done in rats is considered to be due to phytochemicals -- naturally occurring antioxidants -- that grapes contain.

     The laboratory rats were fed powdered form of grapes together with fat rich diet considered as the usual American diet. All of the rats used were from a research breed that is prone to being overweight. There were many comparisons done between the rats who were fed grape powder and the control set with no grape powder.

     After three months, the rats that received the grape-enriched diet had lower blood pressure, better heart function, and reduced indicators of inflammation in the heart and the blood than rats who received no grape powder. These rats also had lower triglycerides and improved glucose tolerance. The effects were seen even though the grape-fed animals had no change in body weight.

     "The possible cause of this lessening of metabolic syndrome is that the phytochemicals were active in protecting the heart cells from the damaging effects of metabolic syndrome. In the rats, inflammation of the heart and heart function was maintained far better," says Steven Bolling, M.D., heart surgeon at the U-M Cardiovascular Centre and head of the University of-Michigan Cardioprotection Research Laboratory.

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