Keep the grapes for yourself

June 6, 2008

red grapes

Ever wondered why most of us take grapes to people in hospital and end up eating them ourselves at the bedside? My personal idea is that all hospital visiting is stressful and so we unconsciously try to reduce that stress by distracting ourselves. Stress can impact heart disease, so imagine my surprise to find I have scientific backing for this idea – perhaps not the exact circumstances,but the latest research findings from Spain show that antioxidant-rich red grapes are high in fibre and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease more effectively than other fibre sources such as oat or psyllium.

It has to be red grapes however, not any other colour as a trial conducted by researchers in Madrid reported that cholesterol levels fell by nine per cent, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by a similar amount and blood pressure was reduced by about 5 per cent. The researchers said: “Grape antioxidant dietary fibre contains relatively large amounts of proanthocyanidins (condensed tannins), which are partially bioavailable in the small intestine, but a major part reach the colon, where they may provide a high antioxidant status.” This was only a small trial of 34 subjects, but might be worth you keeping that fruit bowl filled up with a large bunch if you have any concerns about family blood pressure.


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