Results of a recent animal study suggest that individuals who are at a high risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease may benefit from the naturally occurring antioxidants found in grapes.
For the study, a team of scientists from the University of Michigan Health System monitored the health of a group of overweight lab rats that were fed a diet consisting of high-fat foods mixed with a powdered form of table grapes.
After three months of follow-up, the researchers found rodents that consumed a grape-enriched diet had better heart function, lower blood pressure and reduced inflammation than a group of control rats that were not given the fruit powder.
"Reducing these risk factors may delay the onset of diabetes or heart disease, or lessen the severity of the diseases," said lead researcher E. Mitchell Seymour. "Ultimately it may lessen the health burden of these increasingly common conditions."
The beneficial health effects took place even while the rodents experienced no change in body weight. The research team plans to conduct a similar human trial later this summer.