Monday, May 26, 2008

Blood vessels love grape juice

They're not just passive pipes anymore. Blood vessels, or rather the single layer of cells known as the endothelium that line these passages, actively regulate blood pressure, blood flow, clotting, inflammation, and the immune response. And endothelial cells love purple grape juice whether it's fermented or not.

Persons with arterial disease such as hypertension or atherosclerosis are known to have endothelial dysfunction. In other words, their blood vessels are unable to expand normally in response to such things as exercise and cannot, therefore, efficiently increase blood flow and oxygen delivery when needed. Researchers are able to measure the health of the endothelium and its ability to increase blood flow by a simple test called flow-mediated dilation (FMD).

This test uses ultrasound technology to measure the diameter of the brachial artery at the elbow. A blood pressure cuff is then inflated on the forearm to the point where blood flow through the area is stopped. When the cuff is released, blood surges back into the forearm. Ultrasound is again used to the brachial artery, and the state of blood vessel health can be judged by the post-test expansion of this artery.

Fifteen patients with proven coronary artery disease were hooked up with daily grape juice over the course of 2 weeks(1). Prior to being juiced, these patients, as expected, demonstrated impaired FMD. After 14 days of Welches (and this must be concord grape juice), their FMD tripled. No such changes were observed in other studies conducted with OJ or grapefruit juice.

Grape juice kind of makes my skin crawl, but I drink it anyway. Pair it up with dark chocolate and oatmeal, and your endothelium will be relaxed, your arteries surging with blood.
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(1)Stein, JH et al. Purple grape juice improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation. 1999 Sep 7;100(10):1050-5.

10 comments:

Ruth said...

I love oatmeal and dark chocolate but never drink juice. Hopefully 4 ounces daily would be enough for good results. Interesting to see proof that food is medicine.

kenju said...

We had oatmeal today and chocolate cake for dessert, but I thought grape juice was too sugary! I'll buy some tomorrow!

rlbates said...

So does it have to be purple grape juice or can it be white grape juice?

Femail doc said...

Sorry, Ruth. A 130 pound (60 kg) woman would have to down about 16 oz per day to match the study data. Yuck, I hadn't calculated that out until I read your comment. Perhaps a small juice glassful is better than none at all.

KJ: I think chocolate cake is soul food but doesn't count as good for the endothelium. I think the oatmeal and cake cancel each other out. Did you have them both for breakfast? That's my kind of meal!

RLB: Gotta go Concord!

JeanMac said...

We've been drinking Concord for several years now but not 16oz - I battle calories to balance my day and being the juice is "worth" it I may go to 16oz -

Reality Man said...

It appears that the fermented stuff is a no-brainer winner in terms of low sugar content.

Anonymous said...

From what I have heard dark chocolate is supposed to be better for you, is that the case in this scenario?

Dr. Smak said...

I'm with reality man...

Mauigirl said...

Thanks for the reminder. Having quit drinking I no longer get my red wine quota so I should try to drink more of the non-alcoholic version. Luckily I enjoy grape juice so it's not a problem for me!

Larry Kim said...
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