Here’s another one of those foods that are good for the heart: red grapes. Red grapes are full of health-boosting polyphenols. One in particular, resveratrol, has been shown to improve heart function. Resveratrol seems able to reverse some of the negative effects of eating a diet high in cholesterol.
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Now, according to researchers at the University of Manitoba in Canada, it’s not only high cholesterol that could be treated with a dose of red grape polyphenols, but high blood pressure. too.
The Canadian research team previously reported that resveratrol reduced negative changes in artery size and stiffness, as well as cardiac hypertrophy (a thickening of the heart muscle), and improved cardiac function.
This is great, but the researchers also discovered some heart benefits in grapes triggered by more than just resveratrol. Red grapes contain a variety of bioactive polyphenols such as catechins, anthocyanins, and flavonoids. To understand these bioactive compounds a little better, the research team re-examined the effects of grape consumption in an animal study.
Rats were treated with freeze-dried grape powder for 10 weeks. After performing a number of tests, the researchers found that the grape powder elicited a significant reduction in blood pressure, improved arterial relaxation, increased vascular compliance, and attenuated cardiac hypertrophy. Vascular compliance is the ability of your arteries or veins to regain their original dimensions after stretching to allow the flow blood to travel up or down the body. Arterial compliance in simple words, for example, is the action in
which an artery yields to pressure or force without disruption. It is used as an indication of arterial stiffness. As you get older, or when there’s a change in your systolic blood pressure, you can experience a decrease in arterial compliance.
The researchers concluded that treatment with whole grape powder conferred mild vascular and cardiac benefits in rats. Dietary grape consumption, they say, may be an effective addition to pharmacological treatment of human hypertension.
To help stave off heart disease and high blood pressure, eat some red grapes for an afternoon snack.