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Eating Grapes Could Lower Heart Disease and Diabetes Risk Factors

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Eating grapes is found to lower blood pressure and decrease insulin resistance, in turn lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. New findings show that including grapes in the diet can positively impact health by lowering risk factors related to metabolic syndrome and inflammation that contributes to cardiovascular disease.

University of Michigan researchers compared two groups of rats to find the benefits of grapes for reducing insulin resistance, improving heart function, and lowering inflammation in the heart and blood.

Evidence has been mounting that grapes have genuine benefits for heart health and for preventing heart disease. The newest study from scientists used a blend of green, red and black grapes to study the effects of grapes on overweight rats fed a typical American diet, finding improved heart function, lower triglycerides, decreased inflammation, and improved glucose tolerance compared to rats not given grapes in powdered form.

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The heart healthy effect of grapes was found after three months even though the animals did not lose weight.

Researchers suspect that phytochemicals in grapes, specifically grape powder, actively protected the heart cells from the damaging effects of metabolic syndrome. “In the rats, inflammation of the heart and heart function was maintained far better," compared to those not given grape powder, says Steven Bolling, M.D., heart surgeon at the U-M Cardiovascular Center and head of the U-M Cardioprotection Research Laboratory.

Individuals with metabolic syndrome are at high risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. A grape enriched diet is a simple and delicious way to reduce risk of heart disease and lessen the severity say researchers.

The best way to lower risk of heart disease is by eating a healthy diet, remain active, and keep stress at bay. Though the study was performed on rats, it is possible that eating grapes could lower heart disease and type 2 diabetes risks in humans. Phytochemicals in grapes appear to be responsible for improved heart function, lower blood pressure, and improved markers for inflammation from metabolic syndrome, found in the study. UM researchers plan to continue their studies on the heart healthy effects of dark fruits and vegetables.

UMHS Newsroom



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