Two new scientific papers recently published in Nutrition Today and the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggest that Concord grapes may support healthy circulation to promote cardiovascular and cognitive health in certain populations. These reports add to the growing body of evidence for the role of Concord grapes and grape juice in healthy lifestyles. Welch’s is committed to supporting independent research on Concord grape juice and provided support for these studies. As such Welch’s is pleased to announce the synopsis of two significant research reports.
A new literature review e-published on May 31, 2012 by Nutrition Today emphasizes the role grapes and grape products can play in supporting health. In particular, the review authors suggest that red/purple grapes and grape juice can help support a healthy heart.] The review concludes that enjoying red/purple grapes and grape juice, including Concord grape juice, each day can support cardiovascular health by providing vascular benefits (endothelial function) to promote healthy circulation.
“Grapes and grape juice are smart additions to a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut and one of the study authors. ”The benefits of red/purple grapes can be enjoyed by drinking 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes, or by conveniently squeezing grapes or grape juice into easy and delicious recipes.” While more studies must be done before drawing any conclusions, the reviewers note that emerging research suggests grapes and grape products may offer additional benefits in areas such as immune system health and cognitive function.
The second recently published scientific paper, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, further suggests Concord grape juice may offer certain cognitive health benefits. This study, conducted by Robert Krikorian, Ph.D. and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati, builds on earlier research showing that Concord grape juice has a positive impact on memory in older adults with early cognitive decline. In particular, these new findings indicate that daily consumption of Concord grape juice can benefit cognitive function in older adults with mild memory loss.
In this study, 21 older adults (average age = 77) were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which they drank either 100% Concord grape juice or a grape-flavored drink (the placebo) daily for 16 weeks. For the first time, researchers demonstrated that Concord grape juice can both improve certain aspects of memory function and increase blood flow to specific regions of the brain, particularly the regions involved in working memory, compared to those consuming a placebo. Although learning and retention scores did not improve and it is too early to draw any conclusions about the effect of Concord grape juice on overall memory, this study is an exciting addition to the growing body of research that suggests that Concord grape juice may promote health by supporting healthy circulation.
These two recent scientific papers reinforce the important role purple produce can play in a healthy diet. However, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, only 3% of Americans’ fruit and vegetable intake is coming from this beneficial color category. 100% grape juice is a family favorite and an easy way to enjoy the heart-healthy goodness of dark-purple Concord grapes. To enjoy Concord grapes as part of a heart-healthy diet, consider replacing nutrient-poor, calorie-dense drinks and snacks with 100% grape juice, adding grape juice to smoothies or using it in place of red wine when cooking. For more information on the science behind the Concord grape’s health benefits, including cognitive function and heart health, visit the Grape Science Center at grapescience.com.