Drinking Polyphenol-Rich Concord Grape Juice Improves

Armen Hareyan's picture
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As America's baby boomers continue to age, the number of people 65 years of age and older is expected to double to 70 million by 2030. As such, age-related cognitive decline and incidence of chronic conditions, including Alzheimer's, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, is on the rise. Research supports that good nutrition -- particularly a diet including phytonutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and their juices -- plays an important role in the aging process and may help slow and possibly even reverse age-related physical and mental declines.

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Results from a recent pilot human study suggest that including Concord grape juice in the diet may provide benefit for older adults with early memory decline. This study represents the first placebo-controlled human study to investigate whether regular consumption of a polyphenol-rich food or beverage could have beneficial effects against age-related cognitive decline.

The study, led by Robert Krikorian, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, included 12 adults with early memory decline. Participants drank a total of 15 to 21 ounces, depending on body weight, of either Concord grape juice or placebo daily, divided among meals, for a 12- week period. The beverages were equal in calorie and sugar content but only the Concord grape juice contained natural polyphenolic compounds, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Participants who drank the Concord grape juice showed significant improvement in list learning and trends suggested improved short-term retention and spatial memory.

According to Dr. Krikorian, "These results with Concord grape juice are very encouraging and certainly warrant additional study. A simple, easy-to- incorporate dietary intervention that could improve or protect memory function, such as drinking Concord grape juice daily, may be beneficial for the aging population."

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