HARROGATE, England, Dec, 9 An amazing 80 percent of Americans are currently consuming, or would be interested in consuming foods or beverages for health benefits.(1) For adults of all ages, a desire to maintain overall wellness is of utmost importance and likely driving interest in these 'functional foods'. Research presented this week at the 4th International Conference on Polyphenols and Health (ICPH) further demonstrates that Concord grape juice may play a role in the preservation of health, by supporting blood pressure control and healthy brain function in certain populations.
New Food for Thought
Growing evidence suggests the consumption of antioxidant-rich foods and beverages, such as fruits and vegetables and their 100% juices, may help slow and possibly even reverse age-related cognitive decline. Preliminary research from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati was presented by Dr. Robert Krikorian at the ICPH, which demonstrated that drinking Concord grape juice may provide a benefit for older adults with early memory decline.
Dr. Krikorian included 12 older adults with early memory loss in his study. Each participant drank 100% Concord grape juice or a calorie-matched placebo for 12 weeks and was tested with measures of memory function including both verbal and non-verbal tasks. Krikorian reported, "While there were no differences between the groups at baseline, following treatment, those drinking Concord grape juice demonstrated significant improvement in list learning. In addition, trends suggested improved short-term retention and spatial (nonverbal) memory." He added, "These results with Concord grape juice are very encouraging and certainly warrant additional study. A simple, easy-to-incorporate dietary intervention that could improve or protect memory function, such as drinking Concord grape juice, may be beneficial for the aging population."
Power of the Concord Grape to Control Blood Pressure
Data demonstrates that nocturnal blood pressure, (blood pressure at night) reflects cardiovascular health. Under healthy circumstances, blood pressure will dip down at night; this is known as nocturnal dipping. Evidence suggests that "non-dippers" have increased risk for future cardiovascular events. At the conference, Dr. Joseph Vita of Boston University School of Medicine presented data from a study which compared the effect of Concord grape juice on blood pressure, fasting blood glucose and insulin levels to the effects of a calorie-matched, non-polyphenol-containing, placebo beverage. His study included 64 men and women with blood pressures classified as pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension. None of the study participants were on any medication for their elevated blood pressure.
While this research did not find a significant decrease in blood pressure using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, other results suggested that the consumption of Concord grape juice may have a beneficial impact on blood pressure control. This study showed that drinking Concord grape juice had favorable effects on nocturnal blood pressure, while body weight, blood glucose and fasting insulin levels were not impacted. The placebo had the opposite effect, with a rise both in nocturnal blood pressure and fasting glucose.
More than a decade of cardiovascular research suggests that Concord grape juice can help promote a healthy heart and flexible arteries (2,3,4,5) which contributes to healthy arterial function, circulation and blood pressure. These results further demonstrate that dietary approaches to maintaining healthy blood pressure should not be overlooked.
Welch Foods Inc. is proud to support the International Conference on Polyphenols and Health. Welch's is dedicated to investing in the promotion and expansion of the scientific understanding of food and nutrition.
Headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts, Welch's is the processing and marketing subsidiary of the National Grape Cooperative. Welch's is owned by nearly 1,200 family-farmers across America and in Ontario, Canada, who make up this cooperative, and who are responsible for growing the Concord and Niagara grapes which are pressed to produce Welch's juices and other grape-based products. At the heart of Welch's is 'Real. Grape. Goodness' which celebrates the delicious and inherently healthy Concord grape, and the family-farmer owners who grow it. Welch's Concord grapes are pressed, including the skin and seeds, within 8 hours of being harvested to capture the grapes' natural antioxidant power, and to ensure a premium quality product. Welch's 100% Grape Juice made from Concord grapes helps promote a healthy heart and arteries and maintain a healthy immune system. Welch's is committed to research and development which will meet the growing demand for products that address consumers' health and nutrition needs. Welch's products are sold throughout the United States and in approximately 50 countries around the globe. For more information, visit www.welchs.com.
(1) International Food Information Council, Consumer Attitudes toward Food, Nutrition & Health. 2008. http://www.foodinsight.org/Content/6/IFICFdn2008FoodandHealthSurvey.pdf. Last Updated: May 2008. (Accessed: Dec 8, 2009).
(2) Anselm E, Chataigneau M, Ndiaye M, Chataigneau T and Schini-Kerth VB. Grape juice causes endothelium-dependent relaxation via a redox-sensitive Src- and Akt-dependent activation of eNOS. Cardiovasc Res. 2007. 73(2):404-413.
(3) Freedman JE, Parker C, 3rd, Li L, Perlman JA, Frei B, Ivanov V, Deak LR, Iafrati MD and Folts JD. Select flavonoids and whole juice from purple grapes inhibit platelet function and enhance nitric oxide release. Circulation. 2001. 103(23):2792-2798.
(4) Stein JH, Keevil JG, Wiebe DA, Aeschlimann S and Folts JD. Purple grape juice improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation. 1999. 100(10):1050-1055.
(5) Chou EJ, Keevil JG, Aeschlimann S, Wiebe DA, Folts JD and Stein JH. Effect of ingestion of purple grape juice on endothelial function in patients with coronary heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2001. 88(5):553-555.