Grapes protect men's heart health
Eating grapes may help protect the heart health of men with metabolic syndrome, according to a new study in the US.
Scientists have discovered that the fruit lowered several key risk factors for heart disease in men with metabolic syndrome. These benefits included reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow and reduced inflammation.
Natural components found in grapes, known as polyphenols, are thought to be responsible for these positive effects.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together - increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist or low HDL (the good cholesterol) and increased blood triglycerides - significantly increasing the risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
The researchers studied a group of men between 30 and 70 years of age with metabolic syndrome.
The study is believed to be the first to look at the impact of grapes on metabolic syndrome.
In this study, participants were randomly assigned to consume grapes, in the form of a freeze-dried whole grape powder, or a placebo powder, for four weeks.
Then, following a three-week "washout" period where neither grapes nor placebo were consumed, individuals were allocated to the alternate treatment. This powerful study design allowed investigators to compare the response of each individual to consumption of both the placebo and grapes.
The study results showed that for each of the study's subjects, grape consumption resulted in significant decreases in blood pressure, improved blood flow (greater vasodilation), and decreases in a compound associated with inflammation.
"These results suggest that consuming grapes can improve important risk factors associated with heart disease, in a population that is already at higher risk," said Dr Maria Luz Fernandez, who led the study, which was carried out at the Department of Nutritional Sciences of the University of Connecticut.
"This further supports the accumulating evidence that grapes can positively influence heart health, and extends it to men with metabolic syndrome."
The research was published in the Journal of Nutrition.
For more information on heart disease, vist the Irishhealth.com Heart Disease clinic.
[Posted: Fri 10/08/2012]