April 22, 2009
Grapes reduced signs of heart damage
A grape-enriched diet may help prevent the downhill sequence of heart failure brought on by years of high blood pressure, U.S. researchers suggest.
E. Mitchell Seymour, whose study was part of his doctoral work in nutrition science at Michigan State University, said all the rats his team used were from a research breed that develops high blood pressure when fed a salty diet.
The researchers studied the effect of regular table grapes -- a blend of green, red, and black grapes -- that were mixed into the rat diet in a powdered form, as part of either a high- or low-salt diet. Comparisons were made between rats consuming the grape powder and rats that received a mild dose of the common blood pressure drug hydrazine.
After 18 weeks, the rats that received the grape-enriched diet powder had lower blood pressure, better heart function and fewer signs of heart muscle damage than rats that ate the same salty diet but didn't receive grapes.
Rats that received the blood pressure medicine, hydrazine, along with a salty diet also had lower blood pressure, but their hearts were not protected from damage as they were in the grape-fed group.
The study was presented at the 2009 Experimental Biology convention in New Orleans.