(NaturalNews) Research just presented at the Experimental Biology conference held in Boston this week reveals that grapes contain powerful health promoting properties. Specifically, natural components known as polyphenols appear to protect against organ damage associated with the progression of metabolic syndrome - a group of conditions that occurs together and includes high blood pressure, abdominal fat and elevated cholesterol levels.
The study, headed by scientist E. Mitchell Seymour, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan Health System, looked at the effects of a high fat, American-style diet both with and without grapes on the heart, liver, kidneys, and fat tissue in obesity-prone rats. The grapes used were a blend of red, green and black varieties freeze-dried into a grape powder and mixed into the animals' diets for three months.
The results? After just three months of a grape-enriched diet, inflammatory markers throughout the animals' bodies were dramatically reduced -- most significantly in the liver and in abdominal fat tissue. What's more, there was also a reduction in liver, kidney and abdominal fat weight, compared with those consuming the control diet with no grapes. The grape diet increased markers of antioxidant defense, particularly in the liver and kidneys, as well.
Grapes help fight inflammation and oxidative stress
"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," Dr. Seymour said in a media statement. "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."
The new study builds on earlier results of Dr. Seymour's published research which found that a grape-enriched diet reduced risk factors for heart disease and diabetes in obesity-prone rats.
Research by University of Michigan scientists on grapes, previously reported in NaturalNews, also found eating grapes could dramatically reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure, helping heal signs of heart muscle damage and improve heart function. Published in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, the study concluded the high level of naturally occurring antioxidants present in grapes reduces potentially harmful cell-damaging free radical activity in the body. A ground-breaking pilot study, led by Robert Krikorian, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, has found that drinking grape juice appears to stave off memory decline in older adults, as well.
Editor's note:NaturalNews is opposed to the use of animals in medical experiments that expose them to harm. We present these findings in protest of the way in which they were acquired.
About the author: Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA''''s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine''''s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic''''s "Men''''s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.