Once again research has found that consuming grapes may help protect against organ damage associated with the progression of metabolic syndrome.
What Is Metabolic Syndrome ?
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 Type 2 diabetes. Intake of fruits and vegetables is thought to reduce these risks, and grapes have shown benefits in multiple studies. Metabolic syndrome is a major public health concern, and is on the rise in the U.S.
Specifically, the results showed that three months of a grape-enriched diet significantly reduced inflammatory markers throughout the body, but most significantly in the liver and in abdominal fat tissue. Consuming grapes also reduced liver, kidney and abdominal fat weight, compared with those consuming the control diet. Additionally, grape intake increased markers of antioxidant defense, particularly in the liver and kidneys.
"Our study suggests that a grape-enriched diet may play a critical role in protecting against metabolic syndrome and the toll it takes on the body and its organs," said Seymour. "Both inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in cardiovascular disease progression and organ dysfunction in Type 2 diabetes. Grape intake impacted both of these components in several tissues which is a very promising finding."
Other benefits of eating grapes are:
- Grapes are rich in a polyphenolic,phytochemical compound called resveratrol. It is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants which has been found to play a protective role against cancers of colon and prostate, coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease and viral/ fungal infections.
- Resveratrol reduces the risk of stroke by altering the molecular mechanisms in the blood vessels. It does so firstly by reducing susceptibility of blood vessel damage through decreased activity of angiotensin (a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would otherwise elevate blood pressure) and secondly, through increased production of the vasodilator substance, nitric oxide (a beneficial compound that causes relaxation of blood vessels).
- Anthocyanins are another class of polyphenolic anti-oxidants present abundantly in the red grapes. These phyto-chemicals have been found to have an anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, as well as anti-cancer activity.
- Catechins, a type of flavonoid tannin group of anti-oxidants, found in the white/green varieties have also shown to possess these health-protective functions.
- Grapes are rich source of micronutrient minerals like copper, iron and manganese. Copper and manganese are an essential co-factor of antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is especially concentrated more in raisins. In addition, 100 g of fresh grapes contain about 191 mg of health benefiting electrolyte, potassium.
- They are an also good source of vitamin-C, vitamin A, vitamin K, carotenes, B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamin.