September 24, 2009

Health benefits of grapes numerous

It has been known grapes provide health benefits, but U.S. researchers say they are learning more about exactly how the fruit's chemicals work.

The links between grape consumption and prevention of diseases are the subject of a Grape and Health workshop described in a supplement published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Within grapes and grape products, there are chemical classes of natural compounds, which are capable of mediating biological responses against a variety of targets, Dr. John Pezzuto, the workshop moderator and dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, said in a statement.

In considering grapes and health, a broader view -- that takes into account all of the grape's chemical components including their metabolism, biological potential, biodistribution, absorption and processing -- is key to developing a comprehensive and coherent explanation of their role in improving and supporting human health.

The health benefits of consuming grapes and grape products include preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and tooth decay, Pezzuto says.

Grapes also help improve immune functions, and cognitive and motor functions among older people.