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Grape Compounds Protect Heart, Liver, Kidneys

Posted May 20 2013 10:07pm

Characterized by central obesity, hypertension, and adverse glucose and insulin metabolism, Metabolic Syndrome is a condition associated with increased risk of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  E. Mitchell Seymour, from the University of Michigan Health System (Michigan, USA), and colleagues studied the effects of a high fat, American-style diet both with added grapes and without grapes (the control diet) on the heart, liver, kidneys, and fat tissue in obesity-prone rats. The grapes – a blend of red, green and black varieties – were provided as a freeze-dried grape powder and integrated into the animals’ diets for 90 days.  The data revealed that three months of a grape-enriched diet significantly reduced inflammatory markers throughout the body, but most significantly in the liver and in abdominal fat tissue.  Consuming grapes also reduced liver, kidney and abdominal fat weight, compared with those consuming the control diet.  Additionally, grape intake increased markers of antioxidant defense, particularly in the liver and kidneys.  

E. M. Seymour, J. Wells, T. Han-Markey, T. Soni, C. Burant, S. L. Hummel. Univ. of Michigan Hlth. Syst. and VA Hlth. Syst. “Dash-style diet is effective in patients with treated hypertension and diastolic heart failure independent of change in body weight – a pilot study” [Abstract D7 615.7]. Presentation at Experimental Biology 2013, 21 April 2013.

Consuming grapes may help protect against organ damage associated with the progression of metabolic syndrome, an animal model reveals.
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Tip #164 - Calcium Combats Common Killers
University of Tsukuba (Japan) researchers followed 41,526 Japanese men and women (ages 40 to 59 at the study’s start) for a period of 13 years. The team found that those men and women who consumed the highest calcium from all dietary sources lowered their risk of stroke by 30%.

A team from the University of Navarra (Spain) studied a group of 2,290 elderly men and women at high cardiovascular risk, assessing dietary intakes and measuring blood pressure for a 12-month period. The researchers found that systolic and diastolic blood pressures of those with the highest average level of low-fat dairy intake (631 grams per day) were 4.2 and 1.8 mmHg lower than that of study subjects with the lowest average intakes (3.1 grams per day). The team posits that calcium, which is found in significant levels in low-fat dairy, may inhibit the constriction of vascular smooth muscle cell, while also improving the sodium-potassium balance.

The US nutritional guidelines recommend that adults ages 19-50 years consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Calcium-rich foods to enjoy include:
• Milk (1 cup), 296 mg
• Collard greens (boiled, 1 cup), 266 mg
• Spinach (boiled, 1 cup), 245 mg
• Almonds (1 ounce), 75 mg
• Orange (1 medium), 52 mg

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