Wondering what to eat as part of your heart healthy diet or, for that matter, a diet for high blood pressure?
Researchers at University of Michigan Health System will tell you ….and it gets good … grapes.
In a study published spring 2013 in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, researchers explained how table grapes can improve the cardiac damage from high blood pressure including heart muscle enlargement and rigidity; as well as poor diastolic function, which affects how well the heart pumps. They found that grapes increase the level of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, found in the heart and elsewhere.
Hypertension affects approximately 1 billion people worldwide and is thought to increase the risk of heart failure 2 to 3 times. Low levels of glutathione are routinely found in people and animals suffering heart failure. Diets high in anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables are associated with a lower risk of hypertension as well as other health conditions. This research suggests how grapes do this and suggests how they can play a role in an effective diet for high blood pressure and a heart healthy diet.
Hypertensive rats were fed a grape heavy diet for three and a half months. The results confirmed previous research that showed grapes reduced hypertension and heart damage that could lead to heart failure. Researchers also observed how the grapes sparked antioxidant defence pathways that increased glutathione levels, which likely caused these improvements.
The researchers speculate that no one phytonutrient in grapes was responsible for these heart healthy effects and improved blood pressure results. Likely, several phytonutrients contained in grapes worked synergistically to do this. They hope to do further research on both whole grapes and separate phytochemicals in grapes to confirm this.
In the meantime, as part of your heart healthy diet and diet for high blood pressure, sit back peel yourself a grape or two ….
… and don’t
forget to load up on the fruit and veg.
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