Hearty Research on Concord Grape Juice

Studies Highlight Concord Grape Juice as Beneficial to Heart Health and Possibly More

CONCORD, Mass.,November 15, 2010 - According to recent scientific papers published in Nutrition Reviews1 and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,2 consumers can take steps to support heart health by incorporating grape-based products into their diets.

The Heart of America

More than half of Americans cite heart health as their top health concern.3 Because of this, Americans continually seek ways to promote a healthy heart, often through dietary choices. New studies reveal that grapes and grape products, most notably Concord grape juice, may play a beneficial role in heart health as part of an overall nutritious diet.

Concord Grapes and Heart Health

In a review recently published by Nutrition Reviews, Lisa Vislocky and Maria Fernandez reviewed several studies exploring the role of Concord grapes on health. In particular, the authors highlighted research supporting the beneficial role of grapes on maintaining healthy, flexible arteries (endothelial function) and managing the effects of “bad” cholesterol to help keep arteries clear of plaque (LDL oxidation).

Additionally, in a clinical study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Mustali Dohadwala and team examined the role of Concord grape juice in blood pressure regulation. Study participants included 64 adult men and women with an early stage of high blood pressure classified as either pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension. This study showed that drinking Concord grape juice helped lower nocturnal or night-time blood pressure (an indicator of healthy blood pressure regulation), and had a beneficial impact on blood sugar levels compared to a calorie-matched, grape-flavored drink. While this is exciting, it is important to note that more science is needed to confirm these findings, and that the researchers found no significant effect on blood pressure measured over a 24-hour period. 

In addition to the growing body of evidence suggesting that 100% Concord grape juice contributes to heart health, the review by Vislocky and Fernandez also outlined emerging areas of grape research, including cognitive function. As the brain ages, it becomes more vulnerable to free radicals which can hinder cognitive function. Recent studies have suggested that polyphenol-containing Concord grape juice may help support cognitive function in older adults with age-related memory decline.4 While early research in this area appears promising, the science is preliminary and further exploration is needed to determine if Concord grape juice can have an effect on cognitive health.

Expert Outlook

Maria Fernandez, of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut, Storrs said that “Grape products can be a wise choice for a healthy lifestyle. Grapes and grape juice are easy ways to take a proactive step in maintaining health.”

References
  1. Vislocky LM and Fernandez ML. Biomedical Effects of Grape Products. Nutr Rev. 2010. 68(11):656-670.
  2. Dohadwala MM, Hamburg NM, Holbrook M, Kim BH, Duess M-A, Levit A, Titas M, Chung WB, Vincent FB, Caiano TL, Frame AA, Kearney Jr. JF and Vita JA. Effect of Grape Juice on Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Pre-hypertension and Stage 1 Hypertension. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010. 92(5):1052-1059.
  3. International Food Information Council. Consumer Attitudes Toward Functional Foods/Foods for Health. Washington, DC. 2007. www.foodinsight.org/Content/6/IFICExecSumSINGLE_vF2.pdf
  4. Krikorian R, Nash TA, Shidler MD, Shukitt-Hale B and Joseph JA. Concord grape juice supplementation improves memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Br J Nutr. 2010. 103(5):730-734.