The Grape Escape
Polyphenols Reduce BP in Men with MetS
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) 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 diabetes. It basically means a person’s metabolism is confused, malfunctioning, and trending in the wrong direction. Metabolic syndrome is a major public health concern worldwide. A new study shows that grape polyphenols can help patients of MetS escape from high blood pressure situation.
Metabolic syndrome is driven by an overall inflammatory state. Inflammation within the circulatory system triggers sticky molecules (adhesion factors) that cause cholesterol to stick to the arteries and initiate buildup of plaques in the arteries.
The researchers studied a group of men between 30 and 70 years of age with metabolic syndrome. This study was recently published in the Journal of Nutrition and is believed to be the first to look at the impact of grapes on metabolic syndrome. In the study, grape polyphenols, found in high amounts in grape seed extracts, improved all of the adverse factors including the inflammation, thus lowering blood pressure. The data indicate that grape polyphenols are a good tool to help protect against the ravages of this common metabolic problem.
In this study, participants were randomly assigned to consume grapes, in the form of a freeze-dried whole grape powder, or a placebo powder, for four weeks. Then, following a three-week “washout” period where neither grapes nor placebo were consumed, individuals were allocated to the alternate treatment. The investigators evaluated comparative response of each individual to consumption of both the placebo and grapes.
The study results showed that for each of the subjects, grape consumption resulted in significant decrease in blood pressure, improved blood flow (greater vasodilation), and decrease in a compound associated with inflammation. “These results suggest that consuming grapes can improve important risk factors associated with heart disease, in a population that is already at higher risk,” said Dr Maria Luz Fernandez, who led the study, which was carried out at the Department of Nutritional Sciences of the University of Connecticut.
It is however remarkable that several centuries back, our seers of Ayurveda had already mentioned such health benefits of grapes especially for heart. Sage Charaka, in his ancient text mentions a group of ten best cardiotonic herbs which prominently includes grapes. Various generic medicines containing grapes are used by Ayurvedic practitioners since primordial years. Richelth, Charak pharma’s all inclusive antioxidant formulation, provides benefits of grape polyphenols to MetS patients to stay one step ahead of disease progression.