Grapes, like many other fruits and vegetables, have long been known to promote health heart, but a news study has shed light on a more profound and long-term heart benefit of grape consumption.
In fact, scientists from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center found a grape-enriched diet may prevent heart damage after years of high blood pressure.
They arrived at the conclusion after comparing blood pressure in two groups of laboratory animals on a high-sodium diet. One group consumed a grape powder consisting of a blend of green, red and black grape extracts and one received a mild dose of a common blood pressure drug.
After 18 weeks, the rats that received the grape powder had lower blood pressure, better circulation and fewer signs of heart muscle damage than those that did not receive grapes.
"There are the small changes that diet can bring, but the effect of grape intake on genes can have a greater impact on disease down the road," says E. Mitchell Seymour, who led the research as part of his doctoral work in nutrition science at Michigan State University.
The researchers believe specific natural antioxidants called phytochemicals have the power to stimulate a protective process in the genes that reduces damage to the heart muscle.
The study was presented at the 2009 Experimental Biology convention in New Orleans.